NATION

PASSWORD

Never the twain shall meet [Complete]

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]

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Kylarnatia
N&I RP Mentor
 
Posts: 8445
Founded: Jul 07, 2008
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Kylarnatia » Wed Jun 06, 2018 11:12 pm

“My hands are of your colour, but I shame to wear a heart so white.”

-- Lady Macbeth in "Macbeth" by William Shakespeare


The Gothic Chambers, Citadel City
Havensky


There was a saying in Kylarnatia: "Do not lie to your mother, lest you wish to face her fury."

The Caesar had been lied to, and she did not like it. She had years of practice and practical experience to know how to control her emotions and conceal them, and she did that well, but the revelation brought forward by Captain Skaro that he and Atticus had been working together sent her blood to boiling point and left a sunken feeling in her chest. She had spent the rest of that first session trying to understand in her mind what had happened and what else the Skyans might have been doing. It was no secret that they were tactful people who sought to resolve all things through diplomacy before anything else, but this crossed a line. "Surely they knew it couldn't be that easy? Surely they had to be aware that there would be a cost for this?" As soon as the session had concluded she and her entourage had taken the time to find a private room where she could deliberate what had happened, and respond appropriately. It was not long until a message was dispatched to Atticus, requesting a private audience with him once the summit was concluded. She needed answers, but until then the matters at hand needed to be addressed.

Kylarnatia was not going to stand in front of the Reforms despite all of this. They had worked so hard with the Skyans to put them together - and had been cultivating their relationships with the other Gothic states for some time in preparation of breathing new life into the Alliance. It could not all be jeopardised now. Then there was Tristan's response to the proposal to consider: his outburst, if one could call it that, was a very clever move in order to make a point. A point which Silvier couldn't find fault with, for he was right: despite all the efforts the Imperium were making, and all the influence it and Silvier had cultivated, things were clearly moving too quickly. Discussions were had with attachés, a call to the Ministry of Foreign and Imperial Affairs to seek counsel. The time was still inevitably coming, but it was not today. Not at this time.

It was not long until the chamber was reconvened, and the debate resumed with discussion of the position of Executor and who should take it. The Caesar sat silently as she felt the weight of her coin in her hand, occasionally riding it through her fingers, which remained quite dexterous despite being encased in her golden gauntlet. The angelic wings of her ceremonial attire fell effortlessly over the back of her seat at the table, almost shielding the view of the many attachés working quietly behind her. They worked to and fro; taking accurate record of all the words being spoken, cross-checking all the facts as best they could while also providing the Caesar with accurate updates on all relevant issues happening outside the chamber. That's when Katya and the children--all except the mysterious Ryslander--left, and then she discovered why less than a minute later: a nuclear explosion a few hundred miles east of Mille Mortifere, close to Shen Almaru. Intelligence was still being collated by the Imperium Antiquum High Command, but the Caesar knew that her Fifth Fleet had Carrier Strike Groups within a days journey of the estimated fallout zone, for they had been placed there to monitor the growing tension in the area. Using a tablet at her disposal, she sent the order over encrypted channels: Dux Praefector Netos of the Fifth Fleet will dispatch all available forward elements to the area to monitor and help control the situation. Imperium Antiquum High Command to offer assistance to Pudite High Command and coordinate with them and the Drakonians. -- G.M..

Quickly her attention snapped back to the meeting as names began to be put forward for the Executor position. She listened closely: Godsend Emperor Tristan Skragg, Captain Skaro, Emperor Nathan and Praetor Augustus. Words were exchanged by all the relevant parties: some polite, some not so. All the while the Caesar listened, and observed her distorted reflection on the surface of the coin she now held in the palm of her hand. As soon as the Aldarminian Prince Ryslander had finished his last word, Silvier stood. The acolyte who still remained loyally by her side moved out of the way so that she could begin to walk around the table, pausing for a moment before the pulpit to look around at the stain glass windows. The faces of the original Gothic Lords, the scenes of the many Gothic Wars; it struck the fire within her that would fuel her coming words.

"Gholgoth. The very mention of its name inspires fear and dread to millions--nay, billions--across the globe. The wars that have been fought in these lands have been some of the bloodiest and most destructive this world has ever known, and those who have been brave...or if you prefer, foolish enough to venture here have been engulfed in flames so bright and so violent, that sailors during the Age of Exploration used to illustrate this place on the map as being filled with giant sea serpents and dragons."

Turning swiftly on her heel, the Caesar resumed walking around the table. "Our decisions here today will have a profound impact in ways we may not even be able to comprehend: do we intend to keep being the stuff of myth and children's nightmares, or can we become something much more?" She did not look at anyone immediately, but whenever anyone's eyes met with hers, she looked deeply into their souls. "We are all sown from the same fabric, bound within the same cloth that if pulled apart will rip and tear and cause consequences so destructive that it has been spelled out very succinctly in our line of sight just to make sure we don't forget." She smirked just a little, gesturing towards the last stain glass window which read the phrase 'Ultima Bello'.

"These reforms are the first step of hopefully many that will help guarantee longstanding peace and security for the Gothic states, which will allow us to once again project our might and power outwards to the corners of the earth, taking our place as the hegemonic powers we have the capability to be. But there are many affairs to get in order before that can happen, and the most pressing matter is that concerning the impending outside force from the Golden Throne seeking to act in retaliation against the Scandinvans." Silvier shot a glance at the Crown Prince Fenric before returning her attention to the rest of the Chamber. "Before we can even discuss that though, we must have mediation. This is why I'm glad that the Executor has been reintroduced--a proposal that the Imperium Antiquum brought forward--and for that I thank all of you for backing it."

"I know there are some amongst you that feel I would be suitable for this role, and for that I am grateful." Silvier shot a brief glance towards Ryslander, and then to Atticus. "Since the early days of the silence that has fallen over the Freekish Empire, I have done all that I can to bring this region together in times of crisis. The Imperium Antiquum has committed its resources - and the lives of its sons and daughters - to upholding peace and stability to the best of it's ability, and it will continue to do so, regardless of what happens in these discussions. Should it be the Council's will to select me, then I will accept it, and I will answer any and all questions posed to me. Should it be the will of the Council to select another, we shall accept that as well. To that end, I shall respond to the present nominations and endorse the candidate that I feel most suitable at the present time."

The Caesar promptly turned her attention to the first nominee for Executor, Godsend Emperor Tristan Skragg of Dephire. The two knew each other personally: Silvier had agreed to give refuge to Tristan and his Templars when they were expelled from Briska, and then committed Imperium forces to the successful efforts to reclaim it. She considered him a personal friend, but this was not a personal matter. "Emperor Tristan is one of the strongest men I have ever met. He and the Templars of Briska are without equal and it was an immense honour to be graced with their company during darker years. My people and I look proudly back upon the things we have achieved together. In any other situation, especially in the midst of conflict, I would seek the Godsend Emperor's guidance without a second thought. Fortunately however conflict can still be averted, therefore I believe the wise Templars energies are better suited elsewhere..."

Looking directly into his eyes, she took a brief moment to speak to him directly, using an old Dephirian language that she had learnt while in the company of the Templars during their time in Kylarnatia. "Clouds are gathering in the West, my friend. You will be needed there, and it will be my honour to stand alongside you once again, should you wish it."

Next was Captain Skaro of the Reich. Lord Hyperion, who had remained at the side of Silvier's throne at the table, had not taken his eyes off of him since he had revealed himself to be present. Had this been any other setting, he would have struck him down in an instant. Despite the unease about the Skyans decision to deal with him, the Imperium had to play nice for now. The Caesar came face to face with the Captain, standing just slightly taller than him as she looked down into his eyes, locking with them for what was probably only a few seconds but what felt like an eternity. While he was certainly much more human than any other Kravenite, he was still a Kravenite, and Silvier could feel the machine that he belonged to drumming deep within him. It must have made quite a stark contrast: her angelic, almost divine-like appearance as opposed to his very common demeanour. She said nothing; she looked him over once, looked back at him--and with the smallest slither of a smirk--moved on. She would have to break his neck another day.

Emperor Nathan was next, but Silvier turned her attention to the young Valentina instead. Her motherly nature engaged, and she wore a broad smile. "Sweet Valentina, you do both your father and your country proud! While the future is always a mystery there are a few certainties that like to present themselves in the present to give us a taste of what is to come, and I announce it here now to all those present with the upmost certainty that the Ghantish people are destined to play a pivotal role in the future of this region and the world, for indeed they are already beginning to do so. You and all your siblings have a very bright future, Valentina, and I intend to make sure that the Imperium Antiquum is there with you every step of the way. Indeed, I have seen that..." Silvier then took a brief glance at Sara, the Princess Imperial of Ghant before then looking over at the young man who now occupied her throne at the table: Haeres Julianus Silvanus, Heir to the Throne of the Imperium Antiquum.


Earlier...

[OOC: Contributions from Havensky]

“Lucas, Jessica: please allow me to introduce you to my son, Julianus. He has decided to come and join us here so that he can gain some experience in Gothic diplomacy.” Silvier brought Julianus forward to the Ironwings. He smiles warmly at them both, and pounds his chest with his left arm while bowing his head: the Kylarnatian salute. Julianus had just turned fourteen years of age and stood at around 6’2”, his sleek black hair gleaming in the light of the room while he stood tall. His build was still quite slim but his shoulders were broad, suggesting that he would be able to bulk up at the appropriate age. The heir to the Imperium Antiquum's throne was dressed as ornately as his mother, except that his armour was silver instead of gold, cape purple instead of sanguine, and his set of wings were not as large as Silvier’s. A Kylarnatian scimitar was on his belt and under his other arm he carried a plume helmet.

“Your Majesties, it is a great honour. I am the Haeres Julianus Kain Silvanus of the Imperium Antiquum, Firstborn of my beloved mother and Caesar and the Centurion of the Fangthane Palace Guard.” His position as Centurion was a ceremonial role bestowed to all the heirs, a first taste of military command from quite a young age. Ever since the age of five, Julianus had taken it quite seriously, observing the changing of the Guard each morning on horseback.

“I have heard many great things about you from my mother, who like my people, hold you in the highest of regards. Rightly so, I believe, due to your actions to keep the peace not only here in Gholgoth, but across the world.”

Jessica and Lucas both smiled at once. He was very well spoken and quite strapping for a fourteen year old. Already, he was taller than Lucas who often wondered what they fed the kids up north. It was Jessica who replied to the young prince.

“We thank you for your kind words. I see you are indeed a very fine captain. How are you liking Citadel City?”

“While I’ve only been able to see a small part of it thus far, I do enjoy the atmosphere. When I was younger I was captivated by the news of it’s construction, and I’m glad to see it has become such a shining beacon in an otherwise unstable part of our region.”

“When you were younger,” Lucas remarked lightheartedly. “Don’t make me feel any older than I already am this city’s still pretty new. Perhaps we can steal you from the north for some training at Citadel Military College when the time comes?”

Lucas had an eye for talent and he clearly saw that the young man had been educated from the get go for government service. He’s make a fine addition to the Academy. Skyan officers not only needed to be good with destruction, but diplomacy as well and it seemed he had a knack for speaking.

At this point, Julianus actually looked towards his mother. Smiling, she spoke. “That is a wonderful proposal, Lucas. While usually the education of the Haeres is very heavily controlled by myself and the Fangthane Palace, we do make certain exceptions when we know there are desirable experiences elsewhere. I think, when the time comes, it’d be beneficial for Julianus to spend a semester abroad with you at Citadel University to not only get some experience of the international world, but to also benefit greatly from your tutelage.”

Julianus then turned back. “It would indeed be my honour, your Majesty, when the time comes. While I do not dare wish to speak as if my mother is going anywhere any time soon, I am even now encouraged to consider where I believe the Imperium Antiquum should head under my direction. I truly believe that the relationship between our two nations will be pivotal for years to come, and together we can continue to be a force for good and stability in the world.”

“That’s fantastic. I’m sure we’ll talk more about it as we get closer to time. in the meantime if you’d like a tour of the Legionary Training Groups I’m taking some of the other kids there during the meeting.”

“Actually, I was very much hoping I’d be able to witness the meeting. That is why I decided to attend, after all.” Julianus smiled politely. “However, I would definitely be up to seeing the Legionary Training Groups at another time.”

Jessica turned her head to the side ever so slightly. This young man was certainly on his best behavior. She wondered if he was always like this or if he would end up getting into trouble once out of the gaze of his mother.

“Very well then.” replied Jessica, “Then we’ll see you at the meeting! It was nice meeting you Julianus.”

“The pleasure was all mine, your Majesties.” Julianus bowed once more, while the Caesar observed with reserved but clearly evident pride.

When he stood straight again, she placed a hand on his shoulder and whispered. “Now, do go and mingle with the children. They will be your counterparts one day on this stage, so it’d be good to make a strong first impression.”

“I agree. I shall return before the meeting commences. Love you, mother.” With that, Julianus departed for the children. Despite his insistence on using formalities in most of his conversations, he would still never go without telling his mother he loved her.

“I love you too, my baby boy.” Silvier uttered quietly while watching him walk off, his head held high.




[OOC: Contributions from Ghant]

Julianus spent some time walking around the room, not making his approach towards the other children too obvious, noting all the various dignitaries and heads of state who had already arrived. Every so often he would look back around to see where his mother was, or at least where a fellow native of his homeland was, just in case he ever got cold feet and wanted to retreat from mingling. While he was being prepared more and more for public and private engagements it did give him nerves from time to time, and he was grateful that he still had the privilege of backing out if he wanted to. At least for now.

The Crown Prince of Ghant went off brooding, clearly disappointed that his bout with the Skyan king was cut short, by the steel arm of the queen, no less. Bebe’s sisters lurked on the periphery, watching casually, and gossiping amongst each other. “Such a shame,” Valerie said with a yawn to her sisters, “I wanted to see him get knocked on his ass. It’s long overdue, especially considering all the palace men-at-arms go easy on him.”

“That’s because they fear mother’s retribution should he get hurt,” Sara told her younger sister sagely. “Mother doesn’t want him fighting anyway, and woe be to the man that enables him.” Sara observed her youngest half-sister Valentina scamper around with Bebe and the Aldarminians, taunting them all no doubt, for there were none so brazen as the young fiery haired princess. Blanche on the other hand hung back, being a naturally shy girl that preferred to float in shrinking fashion near her older half-sisters.

“Mother’s naive, then,” Valerie shook her head. “Because he does it anyway and goads men to spar with him. He tells them that when he’s Emperor, he’ll remember who indulged his requests, and who refused him. Father won’t be Emperor forever you know, and once he’s gone...Bebe will begin his reign swiftly. Good men of Ghant know this, so why refuse him? That’s why King Ironwing should’ve got him...because mother can’t reprimand him!”

Sara looked gravely at her younger sister. Valerie thought she knew everything, but in fact, she knew very little. “No, but she can reprimand father, and you know she would too. God knows they spend enough time fighting already…”

“...and yet, they always seem to make up, don’t they?” Valerie asked rhetorically. “Plenty of babies are proof of that…”

Julianus’ mother had explained to him the commotion he had only just missed, and so for a while his focus was exclusively on Bebe, who was continuing to antagonise the other royal children from Aldarminia. This prince - “A boy, really” were Julianus’ initial thoughts - would one day be his fellow counterpart in leading the world. His mother had always taught him to never judge too quickly, however, especially when it came to the people you had to work with. One premature judgement could cost you a valuable ally, or make you gullible to a potential enemy.

It would be good for him to converse with Bebe at some point during this coming weekend of talks and discussions, at the very least for the good photo opportunity and piece of history it’d create. Julianus knew the value of that. But no, now would not be the time for that. The Ghantish Crown Prince was still too busy being a child right this moment, as was his right - just as it was Julianus’ to not socialise if he so wished - but for them to talk they would have to talk as heirs. “Warriors must also master the weapons of verse, not just the weapons of war.”

Tightening his grip on the helmet underneath his right arm and resting his left hand on the hilt of his sheathed scimitar, he then looked to the edges of the room and noticed the three princesses looking on from afar. They were his sisters, and the Caesar had joked to her son once: “If you want another boy to really take you seriously while putting him on the backfoot, talk to his sister.”

It was a mischievous way of teaching him diplomacy, but he had gained plenty of experience at it in his school's dining hall, the thought of which made him pull a sly smile. It was time to see if it’d work in the real world.

Approaching the princesses, the Haeres bowed gracefully before all of them. “Your Imperial Majesties, allow me to formally introduce myself. I am Haeres Julianus Kain Silvanus, Firstborn of my beloved mother and Caesar and the Centurion of the Fangthane Palace Guard. It is a pleasure to meet all of your acquaintances.”

He stood up straight once more and smiled warmly at all of the girls, then spoke straight to the eldest, Sara. His mother had pointed her out to him specifically. While Bebe was going to be his direct counterpart one day, Sara presented something more. According to his mother, she was by far the strongest in the Ghantish litter. “I certainly cannot wait to get to know you better. We’ll all be the adults in this room one day. This is history in the making.”

Princess Valerie giggled, and cut off her older sister, who was in the process of responding. “Your name is Hairs, like on your head, or hares like rabbits?” she asked with a snigger. This prompted Sara to glance sternly at her, before quickly recomposing herself.

“Pardon my sister, your Highness,” Sara informed the prince. He was rather tall, nearly a foot taller than the girls, prompting them to look up at him. “She thinks she’s funny. I am Sara, Princess Imperial of Ghant,” she said with a deep, elegant curtsey.

“High Princess Valerie,” the younger princess said with a similar curtsey, though less refined.

“...Pa...Princess Blanche, your Highness,” the third and final of them stammered out, her manners good, but her social poise a bit rough around the edges.

Julianus smiled politely at all of them, turning. “Sara, Valerie, Blanche.” He acknowledged each in turn, giving a slight bow as each curtsied.

“And please, you may just call me Julianus when we’re speaking directly. We’re all human; at least, I was the last I checked. Haven’t had an unusual craving for carrots lately.” He winked, taking control of the joke that Valerie tried to make. Another thing his mother had taught him: if someone makes a bad joke, take control of it. If you get the laughs, you come off better as a result. “Though I must say, this event certainly has a craving of it’s own. Could any of you imagine that we’d be in this room now, surrounded by all these powerful people? With all these…”

He took some time to observe the scene around them, taking another glance at where Bebe was before looking back to the princesses, specifically at Sara. “...beautiful people.” He smirked. You guessed it, his mother: Make her laugh, then make her smile. Then you’ve got her attention.

Indeed, Sara laughed, and smiled, and though she might not have noticed, she did blush a little. “Julianus it is then, and so well spoken! As to your inquiry, it is as my father said. That gatherings of Gothic Lords are not minor affairs. Powerful people are plenty in number, as should be expected.”

Valerie sniggered too, but she seemed far less taken by the Prince’s charms. “I’ve been looking for Kravenites, but I haven’t seen any. I heard that they wear gas-masks and dress in black, and wear black gloves so that you can’t see any part of their skin, because it’s ugly. It’s ugly because they’re grown in VATS in deep underground labs, and treated like monsters from the time they’re hatched.”

Julianus noticed that Sara blushed, but before he could say anything more to her Valerie had mentioned the Kravenites. While he kept his calm composure, his muscles tensed; luckily that wasn’t visible due to his armour, though he did re-adjust the grip he had on the hilt of his scimitar. “I’m afraid you won’t be seeing one of them here; my mother tells me they’re not the social type. Even if you did, you’d be lucky to get a glimpse of them before Lord Hyperion over there,” Julianus drew their attention to the behemoth, who was standing on the other side of the room, scanning over it like the sentinel he was. “Cleaved through them with his axe. Kravenites might be scary, but he’s terrifying. They might be monsters grown underground, but he’s a son of the Grand Mother. He can also tell you quite a bit about Kravenite anatomy: his men brought back quite a few ‘souvenirs’ from the shores of Fortress Norska after the First Milograd War.”

“Oh? Like what?” Valerie asked with piqued curiosity.

“That’s beside the point,” her sister countered politely. “The point is that the Kravenites do not frequent such functions, because that is not their way. A strange thing really, to think that they were members of the Gothic Pact, and yet their allies within the region seem few and far between.”

“...Father says he would rather break bread with an ice troll than a Kravenite,” Valerie sniggered under her breath, “and ice trolls aren’t even real, but the stories said that they picked their teeth with the bones of naughty children!”

Sara forced a smile at Julianus. “My sister has a wild imagination, doesn’t she? Might I digress, your Highness, Lord Hyperion is a truly magnificent spectacle. I’m sure you sleep very well at night knowing such a noted warrior is never far away.”

“When he was young he refused to sleep at all.” The sudden sound of the deep, booming voice of Lord Hyperion caused even Julianus to flinch a little, losing the smile he had given Sara in response to hers. He and the princesses were now all caught in the Lord’s long and wide shadow, and they were all the direct focus of his fiery gaze. Julianus returned to ceremony and bowed in respect, even taking his left hand off the hilt of his blade, turning it into a fist and pounding his chest in salute.

“Lord Hyperion, it is great to see you. Allow me to introduce you to--”

“I know who they are.” Hyperion stood like a guardian made of stone; not a single part of him moved, and his armour was so large and so heavy that it was impossible to tell whether he was breathing at all.

“Of course.” Julianus nodded, before looking back to the princesses. “We were all just introducing each other, and then the High Princess Valerie wondered when the Kravenites would be arriving, to which the Princess Imperial Sara and I elaborated that would not be happening.”

Blanche began to stammer on quivering legs. “...That’s a very large man…”

“Indeed it is.” Another masculine voice said melodic from behind her, and another man stepped forward. “Ser Rolli Ahateremu, at your service...though perhaps you already knew that, o’ Lord Hyperion.” the Knight of Ducks had to look up to see Lord Hyperion, despite being six foot six. Perhaps among anyone else, Rolli might have been an imposing figure, but around the likes of the exalted Hyperion, he was but a small man indeed. “Forgive me...for my intrusion, your highnesses. His Majesty the Emperor is wary of strange and powerful men around his daughters...especially ones that he doesn’t know.” While Hyperion was certainly an intimidating figure, Rolli had a wide, crooked smile and flickering blue eyes, beneath an enameled duck helm.

“Ser Rolli is a great knight, a good man and true,” Sara spoke highly of her father’s champion. “He means no disrespect. A good guardian errs on the side of caution, is that not true?”

Valerie giggled uneasily before the great Lord Hyperion, and pointed out that. “He wasn’t always a great knight. Before father met him up north, he was a hedge knight who got kicked out of his hometown for punching the local lord’s son in the face...so hard that it broke his nose.”

Rolli smiled again. “My father was a blacksmith at Castle Iuza, and on my sixteenth birthday, my father gave me a sword of castle-forged steel. The Lord’s son saw this and tried to claim it, but I wasn’t giving it up. He tried to take it from me, and I knocked ‘em on the nose. Of course I had to flee, but I got to keep the sword,” he explained with a grin as he patted his scabbard, the sword in its sheath. “And good fortune has blessed me ever since.”

“Fascinating.” Hyperion murmured, having turned his head slightly to look down to Ser Rolli so as to listen to his story. He then glanced over towards his own weapon, the greataxe Nightbane, which glimmered in the light before turning his attention towards the Princess Imperial. “Indeed, though I can tell him that your father the Emperor is very well aware of who I am, but perhaps that is exactly why Ser Rolli chose to join us to begin with.”

Julianus laughed heartedly. “Lord Hyperion enjoys himself more at these gatherings then he ever likes to admit. Rumour is back home he can be quite sociable when he chooses to be, though I’ve yet to see it.”

Hyperion ignored the Haeres, moving on the discussion back to what was originally being discussed before the two guardians interfered. “The Kravenites may be born underground, and they may work like emotionless machines, but in the end they are still flesh and bone. They still bleed the same as us, and thus they still die the same. Strip away that tainted skin and their skulls are no different from the thousands of others I have collected.” Lifting his long cape, he revealed a skull fastened to his belt, which had C.M. MMXIX etched across its forehead.

At the sight of the skull, Blanche yelped and Valerie shrieked...the latter picked up the skirt of her gown and ran away, with Blanche trailing after her. Sara remained, standing still and quietly, though Rolli looked amused. “On the contrary, Lord Hyperion, perhaps I chose to join you because I knew you’d send the little princesses running in terror.”

“...That’s a rather impressive trophy,” Sara said, though not without some unease. “I wouldn’t dare inquire how you came to acquire it...that seems like it would be very impolite conversation…for a girl my age…”

“All that you need to know, Princess Imperial, is that you and your sister's feelings of unease are better kept in me than in the Kravenites. They feed off fear; take that away from them and they have nothing.” Hyperion watched as both Blanche and Valerie darted away, letting go of his cape so that the skull was concealed once again. Julianus laughed heartedly again, before turning his attention to the fact that the room seemed to be gathering and moving onwards. Hyperion noticed as well.

“I shall be joining the Caesar. Ser Rolli, Princess Imperial, Haeres.” The goliath Lord pounded his left gauntlet on his chest, creating a thunderous clap before turning swiftly on his heel and departing. Julianus returned the gesture.

“It looks like the show is about to begin.” He remarked, before looking over to Sara with another smile. He offered her his arm, “May I walk with you and Ser Rolli to the Chamber?”

“Your Highnesses...if you shall excuse me, I should go gather the scattered sheep.” Rolli bowed before showing himself off in the direction of the frightened princesses, leaving only Sara and Julianus in the wake of the recently departed champions.

Sara on the other hand smiled at Julianus, and accepted his invitation, gently and gracefully offering him her arm in return. “How could I refuse?” she said beaming. “Knowing my father, I’m sure it will be quite the show indeed. There’s never a dull moment with him in the room...I can only imagine that room being the Gothic Chamber!” while she teased her father’s reputation for making an entrance, she was careful to protect him, for he had a penchant for controversy the likes of which few Gothic Lords could hope to match.

Julianus chuckled, before linking his arm with Sara’s and beginning to guide her at a gentle walking pace in the direction of the Gothic Chamber. “Between you and me, I could say the same of my mother. She knows how to command people’s attention when she wants it, though there does seem to be a lot of colourful characters here today, so anything could happen. Lets at the very least hope it is productive, hm?”

“Oh, I have no doubt that it will be...very much so.” Sara walked gracefully towards the Gothic Chamber with Julianus, eager to see what events would unfold once the meeting was underway. The foreign Crown Prince was pleasant enough company, even if his champion scared her sisters. A part of her was afraid too, but as the oldest child it was her responsibility to face down fear...at least within reason.

Julianus smiled and for a moment looked directly ahead, seeing his mother flanked by both Hyperion and the acolyte, with her staff also following closely behind. He felt a great warmth in his chest, not only because of the love and admiration he had for his mother but also because he felt an incredible level of excitement in being present, if not also a tiny bit of nervousness. Even so, he would have to not let that overcome him too much, and should do as his step-mother told him: “just focus on enjoying yourself, and taking it all in whilst you’re there. You have no responsibility as an observer.”

“...That’s precisely what I’m worried about,” Sara replied, allowing herself a snigger.

Eventually the two arrived in the Chamber with the rest of those assembled, and even Julianus could not help but audibly gasp at the spectacle that was around them. He had heard that the Skyans had a passion for architecture, but he never thought they could go to such lengths. Taking some time to admire the stained glass windows in particular, he then looked around the room until he saw where the Ghantish entourage was located. Spotting them, he looked at Sara again and smiled, before walking her over. “Thank you for your company, Your Highness, and I hope I get the chance to talk to you again over this weekend.”

Walking Sara directly to her father as he was seated, he bowed gracefully to her first before turning his attention to the Emperor and the rest of his children and entourage, pounding his chest in salute and bowing separately before departing without saying a word, heading straight for his mother. There wasn’t enough time to strike up another conversation now that proceedings were about to begin, and besides, they would be able to figure out who he was from the direction in which he headed.

“You’re welcome,” she replied. “It was a great honor, and I hope I get the chance as well. Until next time.” After a deep curtsey, Sara joined her brothers and sisters in the chamber seats. The Crown Prince and his brothers were distracted, and so Sara was able to return without drawing notice. The Emperor, on the other hand, watched closely the comings and goings of Julianus, for the older man knew of the boy, but had little in the way of an opinion about him. As such he didn’t say anything, rather watching the prince depart. Sara, on the other hand, sat beside her sisters and steeled herself, for the meeting was about to begin in earnest.


Back to the Present...

"...But today, little one, is not that day." The Caesar brought her attention back to Valentina and the rest of the Ghantish delegation. "Emperor Nathan is a capable leader, but this situation is - by his own admission - is one that he does not wish to have any further stake in unless chosen to do so. It is one thing to be capable of wielding power and authority, it is another thing to be prepared and willing to accept it. It is for those reasons that I do not feel it right to endorse him for the role of Executor, for I feel it is much more valuable to have his voice here in this chamber as an impassioned defender of his own beliefs, rather than a neutral arbiter."

Therefore that only left one individual: Praetor Augustus Drake of the Drakonian Imperium. "Of all the nominations, Praetor Augustus Drake is perhaps best suited in this regard. I concur with the Lamhekian sentiments regarding his qualification, and have deduced from my personal interactions with the Praetor at this coming together alone that he is a man of sound mind and reason, which is most crucial for the role of Executor..."


Even Earlier...
[OOC: Contributions from Drakonian Imperium]

One group of guests who she locked eyes with in particular was the entourage from the Drakonian Imperium. The Praetor Augustus Valens Drake himself was present, alongside his daughter, the Crown Princess Liliana, and the Prime Minister of Mille Mortifere, Caius Paulus Argentius. Silvier had only really encountered the latter, for he had represented the Drakonian Imperium in Krytopia all the way back when Havensky was originally admitted into the Gothic Alliance, but she had been briefed extensively on the members of the Drakonian Imperial Family.

Having shared eye contact for a while, the Drakonians eventually approached, being guided along by their Skyan hosts.

“Nobilissima Caesar,” Augustus greeted, using the latin for ‘Most Noble Caesar’. “It is a pleasure to meet you.”

“Nobilissimo Praetor,” Silvier responded, passing back the same compliment. “The pleasure is all mine. I’ve heard many a great thing about you from our counterparts, past and present, and I’ve looked forward to this meeting for a while. Your televised address prior to this meeting caught my attention; it was inspiring. I hope that the report about me you were most likely briefed with prior to your arrival spoke as highly of me as mine did of you.”


“The report was quite glowing. It spoke highly of your actions in the region. The picture, I am afraid, did not do justice to your radiance. You are far more stunning than mere film can capture.” Augustus smiled, wryly before looking more serious. He had been known as a bit of a womanizer in his youth, before he had married, and occasionally the old flirtatious charm still shown through. “My own speech came far later than it should have. As the old saying goes, ‘Dragons are far too willing to let the world pass knowing it will still be there when they wake’.”

Silvier was no stranger to compliments from foreign dignitaries - she had received plenty already in her time here alone - but smiled politely in order to show a graceful gratitude. She then turned her attention to the others. “It is also a great pleasure to meet your beautiful daughter, and to be reaquainted with the Prime Minister after what seems to have been an age since we last met in Krytopia.”

“You are most kind,” Liliana responded, blushing.

Caius too smiled, bowing his head slightly. “Far too long, Caesar.”

“I was very pleased to learn about your renewed efforts against piracy in the region. With times getting as they are, lawless individuals are getting too optimistic about their chances. How are the operations going? I can say that my Imperial Navy has successfully dealt with any threats that have occurred in the north as it stands, and we intend to upscale our operations to the whole region in light of recent events.”

Augustus looked to Caius. “Not as well as they could be,” he said. “The Imperial Navy is mostly preparing for the coming conflict. Police actions have been largely limited to local forces in the islands.”

“The geo-maritime situation in Mille Mortifere must make combating pirates a lot more challenging, I have no doubt. We’re living in an age where conventional means of combat are becoming quickly outdated by other means, particularly when it comes to facing partisans. While it will require separate talks to organise such things, I’d be very keen to see my Imperial Navy supporting your own in this endeavour.”

The Caesar then hushed her voice slightly, so as to not attract too much attention from the rest of the room. “And of course, as I’m sure you’re no doubt aware, we want to increase our presence as a clear message of intent towards the Reich.” While that fact was indeed not something that the Imperium Antiquum hid away from, the way in which she went about saying it wasn’t in the normal diplomatic lingo, so did not want to attract too much attention for the break in formalities. Sometimes, it proved more effective to state your intentions bluntly.

The Praetor nodded. “We have the same concerns.”

Caius looked unsurprised. “Policing, indeed, governing in a Mille Mortifere is a challenge.”

To an outside observer, Mille Mortifere might seem nothing more than anarchy. Despite the Territorial Army and Navy, Mille Mortifere lacked most organs of centralized government that other states might recognize. The region was held together by a complex series of interlocking relationships between vast mega-corporations, mercantilists, feudal lordships, and most importantly the Navigator’s Guild. Before Drakonia had taken a more active role in the islands, the Navigator’s Guild was the government. The Navigator’s Guild controlled the shipping charts for the region and in an area as treacherous to sail and profitable to trade as Mille Mortifere, those charts gave the guild the power to govern.

“Absolutely fascinating.” Silvier had followed the conversation with a warm smile and polite nods, being genuine in her interest. A lot of what was said she had probably read before in a briefing, but inevitably some things slip. She then turned her attention exclusively to Liliana. “And what is the opinion of the future of Drakonia?”

“I think it is bright,” she responded after some thought. “Father has grown the Imperium larger than it has ever been. Whatever trials that await us in Gholgoth, we will grow the stronger for them.”

“I’m glad that you’re full of such optimism, even in the face of the growing storm around us. Definitely more than just a pretty face.” Silvier joked softly, but then became more serious. “From what my report on you said, I have every reason to believe you will build upon your father's’ accomplishments, if not surpass them entirely. I look forward to perhaps having the chance to work alongside you one day as a fellow Lord, and should that day ever come know that I am ready and willing to support you. The first few years of leadership can be very trying, especially from a young age, and I know what that’s like. While I have no overriding concerns about your abilities, I will not only be your equal in terms of Lordship, but I am also a fellow woman. Do not be afraid to speak your mind to me.”

“As do I, Ma’am.” Liliana smiled furtively. “As father will attest, I am not afraid of voicing my opinions.” A smirk and a nod from Augustus affirmed this.


Back to the Present...

"...Furthermore, the Drakonian Imperium is perhaps in the best situation geo-politically to help mediate in the upcoming matter. Lastly, it is striking to note that out of all the nominations, his is the only one that did not come from his own camp. If these talks are to go forward successfully, I think it vital that we're able to put our own interests aside." Caesar Silvier had now made her way back all the way around to her throne, from which Julianus promptly rose. "It is for those reasons, therefore, that I and the Imperium Antiquum back the nomination of Praetor Augustus Drake of the Drakonian Imperium for the position of Executor to arbitrate in this matter. I strongly encourage the rest of you to do the same."

Her grip on the coin still tight, she took one glance again around the room, stopping at the Aldarminian Prince Ryslander, to whom she had an attaché pass a private message which simply read: "I am here with you, young one. Allow me to guide you through these choppy waves, for here there be dragons." - Auntie Catherina
Last edited by Kylarnatia on Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:25 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Ghant
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Posts: 2443
Founded: Feb 11, 2013
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Ghant » Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:37 pm

“Bebe Strikes Back”
The White Citadel
Citadel City, Havensky


Following Princess Valentina’s speech before the assembled Gothic Lords, Empress Silvier addressed the Ghantish princess. "Sweet Valentina, you do both your father and your country proud! While the future is always a mystery there are a few certainties that like to present themselves in the present to give us a taste of what is to come, and I announce it here now to all those present with the upmost certainty that the Ghantish people are destined to play a pivotal role in the future of this region and the world, for indeed they are already beginning to do so. You and all your siblings have a very bright future, Valentina, and I intend to make sure that the Imperium Antiquum is there with you every step of the way. Indeed, I have seen that..." Silvier looked towards Valentina’s half-sister Sara, and then at a boy in the chamber that Valentina assumed was Silvier’s son.

"...But today, little one, is not that day." The Caesar cast her gaze back upon the Ghantish. "Emperor Nathan is a capable leader, but this situation is - by his own admission - is one that he does not wish to have any further stake in unless chosen to do so. It is one thing to be capable of wielding power and authority, it is another thing to be prepared and willing to accept it. It is for those reasons that I do not feel it right to endorse him for the role of Executor, for I feel it is much more valuable to have his voice here in this chamber as an impassioned defender of his own beliefs, rather than a neutral arbiter. Therefore that only left one individual: Praetor Augustus Drake of the Drakonian Imperium. Of all the nominations, Praetor Augustus Drake is perhaps best suited in this regard. I concur with the Lamhekian sentiments regarding his qualification, and have deduced from my personal interactions with the Praetor at this coming together alone that he is a man of sound mind and reason, which is most crucial for the role of Executor..."

“Thank you, your Majesty,” was all Valentina managed to say before she became thoroughly distracted. Indeed, the assorted Princes and Princesses of Ghant began to at last trickle back in, Valentina’s brothers and sisters all finding their way towards seats near to her. Leading them was the swaggering Crown Prince Nathan, known amongst his siblings as “Bebe.” The boy shared his name with his father the Emperor, but that was where the similarities ended. Lavishly dressed and with a petulant look on his face, Bebe sat down next to Valentina and looked down at her with his deep, stormy blue eyes, while sweeping back some of his luxuriant dark brown hair.

“What’d I miss?” Bebe asked his younger half-sister with a hard pat on the back. “Not much, I take it. Probably just a bunch of posturing by these conniving Gothic Lords.”

Valentina gave him a stern gaze. “Just the Gothic Reforms. I’m sure father will show you them later…”

“I will see them now.” Bebe turned to Lara Jarasa, seated nearby, and demanded “I will have a copy of the legislation, my lady.”

“Of course, your Majesty.” With little hesitation, Lara passed the reforms and amendments to Bebe, as well as notes on the proceedings. Reviewing them quickly, Bebe let out a curt laugh. “Gothic Fortresses, eh? Father proposed a fourth in Briska? Appeasing for favors already, our father is!”

“…It’s vital for the defense of Gholgoth,” she countered coldly.

Bebe chuckled, and said that “right, because Gholgoth is surely in need of defense. Since when? No, Gholgoth just needs solidarity and strong leadership…no more domination by pansies and weaklings like father and the Skyans.”

The Crown Prince’s jaw dropped when he read the next bit. “Well, well sister, look at you! Going before the Gothic Lords and nominating our infamous father for the Executor!” Bebe sniggered so hard that he had to cover his mouth, lest it look like he was laughing in his sister’s face. “They should just elect Silvier and be done with it. She’s clearly the best suited for it.”

“No she’s not!” angrily replied Valentina in a huff that turned her face nearly as red as her hair. “Father is, I just know it.”

Bebe shooked his head, a smirk creeping across his face. “You are bold, sister, but a fool. The adoration you have for him is wasted…the man you believe he is…is merely an illusion.”

Valentina snapped back, “you don’t know anything, Bebe. Shut up!”

“I know more than you,” he snapped back. “I know father is a coward and a weakling, who couldn’t lead sheep to a pasture, let alone Gholgoth. You think these lords who’ve spent years laughing at him behind his back would suddenly choose him to lead them? You’re delusional if you think that a man who’s dominated by ambitious whores has the strength and courage to be Executor. Your mother…”

With a swift motion, Valentina lashed out to strike her half-brother across the face. Bebe was faster, and caught her by the wrist. “You’re too bold for your own good, sister, and one day that’s going to be ruin of you.” As for your mother…she’s the one responsible for tempting father to betray my mother, and for that she will answer to me when I gain the throne. When that day comes, you will think twice before raising a hand to me.”

After Bebe let go of Valentina’s arm, she went over to her half-sisters Sara, Valerie and Blanche. She didn’t say anything to them…she didn’t need to. They were there for her, and in that moment, with everything that had been done and said in that chamber, she cried into Sara’s shoulder, looking away from Bebe, her other brothers and most importantly her father and the rest of the Gothic Lords. She didn’t want them to see her cry, but unfortunately, it didn’t go unnoticed…


o o o o o o o

The Emperor of Ghant was beside himself at his own daughter’s speech on his behalf. She clearly believed in her heart of hearts that he should be Executor. How can she believe that when I do not even believe that myself? In fact, never in Nathan’s entire life had someone else believed in him the way that Valentina did right there in the Gothic Chamber. To say that it moved him was an understatement.

Halsley turned to look at the Emperor following Valentina’s speech. "I mean no disrespect, in all I have said and will say. You do have friends, Nathan. Everyone here has friends. Furthermore, everyone here is family. We have all grown together. Yes, we've waged wars on one another that slaughtered millions of our own people, but we can all work together to stop the bickering among ourselves and turn our anger towards those not of our region. Nathan, I cannot see my nation's vote going to a man who is not confident enough to own the Executor title. Perhaps when we hold the next election, which I assume is something we will do..." Halsley glanced at Atticus and added, "if we hold another election in the future, you may have had the time to earn my people's vote. In the meantime, my candidate is ready and willing to do what it takes to bring peace to this region. There will be changes that he hopes will be beneficial to all of Gholgoth. I will be sure that these changes happen."

”And Nathan,” the Dread Lord of Lamehk spoke next, addressing the Emperor. “The least worst option. I can't claim to know you very well, but you clearly don't want it and that tells me all I really need to know. I'd rather vote for the girl, I think. Pity she's not older, she certainly has the mettle for the job. One thing though Princess, the least worst option, is still among the worst options…and so we reach the part where you believe I will explain why you should vote for me instead.” Lorkahn looked around the room, and explained that “I could, of anyone in this room, I alone may have the best qualifications when it comes to keeping peace and order between various factions.”

The Aldarminian Prince chimed in, saying “I come to Lord Nathan of Ghant, but as Lord Tristan aptly pointed out earlier, he lacks both will and confidence thereof for the position. Might as well strike his name from the list, if you can forgive that blunt turn-of-phrase. However, the door shall remain open to our endorsement of his Executorial assent if he so chose to retract his earlier preemptive vote of no self confidence for the position.”

Like rain, they all poured down, the latest among them being Augustus Drake. "Tell me," Augustus looked across the table at Nathan. "If you had been Executor when this crisis started, what would you have done to stop it?" He looked towards the Skyans, and then added "before you answer, I’ll tell you what I would have done. My approach first would have been exactly what the Skyan’s attempted: Diplomacy."

Nathan felt the weight of the question…of the opinions shared about him. The weight of his daughter’s admiration, the weight of thirty years of wearing a crown that in the beginning was far too big for his head. So much to think about…so much to consider… so many things were swimming around in his head that he wasn’t even sure where to begin.

With a care, he looked over his shoulder towards his beloved daughter Valentina. Oh no, he thought after realizing that his other children had returned, chief among them his eldest son and heir Nathan, otherwise known as Bebe. He hates that nickname. He could see the Crown Prince arguing with Valentina about something, while also glancing condescending glances towards him. Never has a son so despised his own father as my son despises me.

Then to his horror, Nathan observed Valentina become so heated that she raised a hand to Bebe, only for the latter to intercept it. Mere moments later, he let go after some undoubtedly sharp words, and she went to her sisters. The Emperor’s usually tranquil demeanor changed, becoming more fierce as he saw her beginning to cry. Bebe had a look of smug satisfaction on his face at this spectacle, and turned his head to lock eyes with his father.

The Crown Prince had a cruel visage, one of callousness and cruelty that didn’t even diminish in his father’s eyes. What sort of man am I, if my own son and heir is such a wicked child? The boy’s expression was a mocking one, as though it were daring his father. What are you going to do about it? was the expression that Nathan seemed to be getting from his son. Another look towards his crying daughter in the back of the chamber, and then another back at Bebe.

I’ll show you what I’ll do, you little bastard, the Emperor thought. I’m going to show you what I can do. A quick sigh with closed eyes, Nathan prayed briefly before meeting eyes with Augustus Drake. May the Gods forgive me for what I’m about to do…

Purposefully, the Emperor rose from his seat, and stood tall and dignified. “If I were Executor before all of this began, Praetor, rest assured that nothing would have happened. Diplomacy would have carried the day. We can all pay lip service to it, but at the end of the day diplomacy is more effective with relationships and clout. I’ve cultivated both for thirty years, especially in Greater Dienstad, where the source of our external woes originates.”

Catching is breath, Nathan explained “this all began with Scandin slaving vessels operating in Dienstad. Gothic law doesn’t prohibit slavers from operating outside of Gholgoth. I’m not going to talk about what should or shouldn’t be, because we don’t live in the Land of Should. We live in the Land that Is, and in the Land that Is, there’s slavery in Gholgoth. As a Gothic Lord and as Executor, I respect the ability of all Gothic States to be as they choose, provided they respect and adhere to Gothic Law.”

“As for the Golden Throne,” Nathan added briskly, “they declared war on the Scandinvans and entered Gholgoth in order to wage war upon them. This wouldn’t have happened under my watch, firstly because I would have made it clear that there are to be no outside military incursions into Gholgoth. I would have compelled the nations of the region to uphold the Gothic Alliance in this regard, and I would have condemned any nation that violated this tenant by making common cause with outside invaders.”

Looking to Fenric, the Emperor bit his lip. “Having said that, the Gothic Alliance is by no means compelled to provide aid to the operations of a Gothic state beyond Gholgoth, so if Scandin slaving vessels conducting trade outside of Gholgoth are assaulted, and their slave trade contained, then I’d say tough shit. That’s the cost of doing business, so perhaps in the future you should choose more carefully where and how you conduct it.”

“The Golden Throne specifically was an aggrieved party that had some specific concerns addressing Gholgoth,” Nathan looked to Feodor as he spoke on the subject. “I would have listened to what he had to say and in the interest of peace, I would have tried to assuage those concerns with diplomacy, which I can assure you, I’m quite capable of.” Another look towards Fenric, and another proclamation. “What’s worse then providing military assistance to outside invaders is attacking another Gothic state. Were I Executor when Citadel City was bombed, you would have answered to me personally for that, Fenric."

Then there was a broad glance to the whole Gothic Chamber. “Do not mistake my deference for cowardice. Do not mistake my humility for weakness, and do not mistake my caution for a lack of confidence. I do not seek power for power’s sake. To me power is a means to an end, but what end? For me the end is peace, and if I must seek power to achieve that, then so be it. I shall endeavor with my mind, spirit and heart to become Executor, because I know that I can achieve peace and restore the prestige and prosperity of Gholgoth. In fact, I can promise you that.”

Nathan boldly proclaimed that “the most pressing matter before is the end of this war with the Triumvirate of Dienstad, that consists of the Golden Throne, Imbrinium and Stevid. There are Triumvirate military assets in Gholgoth as we speak, and I alone have the ability to bring their presence here to an end. I will engage in diplomacy with them and convince to leave, as well forge a lasting peace with them to end this war with the Scandins. Emperor Feodor is a man who will listen to me, and I am someone who he respects. We will talk, and it shall end.”

“And if it doesn’t,” Nathan looked at his peers with a hard expression on his face, “then I have the means by which to make things become very difficult for the Triumvirate. The King of Imbrinium’s wife is my grandfather’s cousin, a Princess of my own house. When they were wed, the King swore a sacred oath of friendship and protection to Ghant. I will not hesitate to call upon this oath if push came to shove, and I can make the Triumvirate falter with just a word. There is blood between myself and the King of Imbrinium, and blood is stronger than ink, and that’s not the sort of conflict that Dienstad wants to have.” Nathan made sure to nod his head towards Feodor as though to tell him gotta act tough, you understand.

“As Executor I would also see to the vitality of the Gothic Fortresses, the safe and fair conduct of the Praetors and the situation in Milograd with due diligence. I would endeavor to end non-consensual colonization and conquests within Gholgoth, and seek to restore Dengmu to Shen Amaru, if only because that’s a mess that should have never happened in the first place, and under my watch, wouldn’t happen again.”

Another exchange of glances with his lordly peers, and Nathan added that “talking about the next election is a moot point, because the election that matters is the one now. The qualifications and skills that are possess are uniquely suited to the situation that Gholgoth is faced with at the present time, and my confidence is a reflection of my experience dealing with the various personalities and nations in the equation.” The Emperor’s eyes looking back at Augustus Drake, Nathan inclined his head and finished his speech. “I hope that answers your question, and provides you with some insight as to what I will do if elected Executor. I hope you will consider voting for me, as with the rest of you.”

Having said his peace, Nathan took his seat and a drink of water with it. Looking over his shoulder for the first time since before he spoke, he could see Bebe slouched in his chair with his arms folded and a frown on his face. Aw, did I just make you look like a fool in front of your sister? Perhaps he did, because another look towards Valentina showed the girl with a shy smile on her face, even as her eyes and cheeks were still a bit wet. In the end, that was what mattered the most.
Last edited by Ghant on Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Emperor Pudu
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Founded: Aug 24, 2007
Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby Emperor Pudu » Sat Jun 09, 2018 1:01 am

Citadel City

As his subordinates made their unobtrusive exits from the summit chambers Dengmu had taken little notice. Such was the way of an Emperor that the mundane comings and goings of one’s servants during the presumed course of their duties taxed but little attention of the sovereign. It wasn’t for some minutes, therefore, until Dengmu received notice of an event whose ripples were passing through the room around him even now. Ambassador Lucius Salvias Otho had approached his Emperor and leaned in to pass a whispered message. He spoke quickly and with a note of concern, “A small nuclear warhead had detonated at the heart of an Imperial Navy fleet somewhere east of Mille Mortifere. The dreadnought Xiang Wu was the the likely target, the likely perpetrator: Shun Lao. The ship is lost.”

The detonation of the nuclear weapon itself was what most concerned the international audience, of course. The departure of the Aldarminian delegation, for one, now made more sense with this new context. For Dengmu however this was far from the case. The weapon was small, far smaller than what Shun Lao herself had used against the Imperial Navy in years past. The attack furthermore paled in comparison of it's scope to the dozens or hundreds of warheads exchanged over the heavily populated cities of Nunkid and Daram during the darkest days of the invasion. No, it was the symbolism of the strike that concerned Emperor Pudu Jilang Dengmu the most in this moment.

Ambassador Otho had leaned in close upon delivering his message to hear the sovereign’s reply. The reply came in the form of a question, “What of the Loshan?” Dengmu asked, finally.

The ship that had been destroyed was called the INS Pudu Xiang Wu; it’s namesake was a Pudite emperor who was Dengmu’s antecedent by more than two millennia. Xiang Wu was popularly remembered as ‘The Hammer of Corras’ and it was this martial reputation that led to his inspiring the name for a tremendously large battle ship thousands of years after his death. Another of the formerly three, now two, similar ships in the region was the INS Jilang Loshan, and the only one of the dreadfire-class vessels not named after a former Pudite emperor. Loshan had been the first son of Emperor Shangjun, Dengmu’s father, and had died of illness in his prime years. Shangjun had memorialized him with this warship.

Otho’s response came quickly, “The Jilang Loshan is in port in Fort Defiance, Havensky. Admiral Rolek has instituted extraordinary security measures as a precaution.” Dengmu nodded at the news before asking another question of his ambassador, “So why did she choose the Xiang Wu when she could have struck at my own brother?” Otho had expected this question as well and was prepared to share what he knew, “The story begins some months ago when the pirate captain Shun Lao met in person with highly placed Skyan and Aldarminian officials, and one Pudite.”

The question did not even have to be asked before Otho answered it, “Merelbart Stoyen was the Pudite official in question, the Ambassador to Aldarminia. That’s where the meeting was held. A message was received at that same embassy only minutes ago. It all makes it look like she chose the Xiang Wu for Stoyen’s benefit.” Dengmu shook his bald head slowly, causing Otho to give him some space. The Emperor then growled out his answer, coming across a bit louder than their previous whispers, “Recall Stoyen. Bring him to me.” Dengmu jabbed a finger into the table forcefully to punctuate his demand. Otho offered only the quickest affirmation before falling back to the staff assembled behind the two men. An aide left the room shortly afterward with a written message. Merelbart Stoyen would be in Citadel City before a day had passed.

The news had only driven home for Dengmu a thought that had been gestating in him for some time since the convening of this summit; there would be no help had here, in council chambers and consultation. Dengmu clenched his thick, meaty hands into formidable fists, his knuckles white. His lips were pulled into a tight scowl. He was frustrated. The sooner an Executor was chosen, whatever good that would do, and the sooner the Lords dispersed, the sooner Dengmu could get down to the business of solving his problems.

The Pudite Emperor loudly slapped both his hands flat on the table before him and leaned forward, pushing himself to his feet with a strong exhalation. The medals pinned to his chest rattled with the effort; the sword clipped to his belt rattled ominously. When he finally spoke it was slow and deliberate, “My fellow Lords,” he began simply, "In our history there are but few among our number who could truly have claimed to speak for Gholgoth, and even then, it was through respect and informal assent that the Lords made their choice. Today we seek to do a thing that has never been done. The person selected to be Executor will not only be the first to hold that office, but will shape what that office means for generations of Gothic Lords to come. Executors will come after this one. A new crisis will erupt, undoubtedly, and great leaders will rise to lead Gholgoth through those times, as they always have. Today we make a choice that will define the alliance forevermore."

“I could not say what has brought you all to this chamber today.” His eyes passed from Lord to Lord, “Curiosity?” he wondered aloud as they fell on Lorkhan, “Spite?” as he looked to Skaro, “or Pride?” as his gaze fell on Skragg. He looked over the rest as he continued, “Whatever it was that motivated you to come here and be a part of this, it does nothing for me. I have but one motivation. Lands which are the responsibility of the Hewn Throne in Hollarum, my seat, have come under domination by foreign powers. Pudite officials are exiled or arrested; the authority of the throne is denied. These are the problems for which I require resolution, and I can see but one of those now."

"Let me tell you why I have come here,” Dengmu paused then a moment and his face suddenly reflected a hardness that it often concealed, “I have come to take the measure of the man against whom I will wage this terrible war.” Dengmu turned to face the Scandinvan Crown Prince now, “You have no need to fear these reforms, Fenric, for it is not they that will ruin you. The grievances we two bear against one another will be settled on the battlefield, not in a room like this.”

Next, Dengmu looked to the Godsend Emperor Tristan Skragg, his demeanor still fierce but now encouraging rather than accusatory, “Honestly, Skragg, from all I’ve read of you I hadn’t expected to see you fight so hard to sit behind a desk. You wondered if we had any questions for you? Well I have one. Would you rather see this crisis through from afar, wielding a gavel, or would you rather see this through from the battle line? I know you have served as a soldier, and far more proficiently than I ever did. I would ask you to do what I understand you do uncommonly well. Take a side and fight. Leave the council meetings to someone who enjoys them.”

“As for me and my people, our course has been decided.” Dengmu moved his hand to the hilt of the sabre he wore at his hip; the sword gifted him only hours before by the Emperor Fedor of the Golden Throne. “If the assembled Lords would prefer to see the crisis before us as one unfolding between the Scandin Empire and that of the Golden Throne, then it is clear where I stand. The Executor we elect may bring any end they like to that war. I will have my own war, and it will end exactly as I decree. There are those of you who have pledged your assistance to me in this, and for that I am grateful." He looked in turn toward Augustus and Atticus before looking out over the rest of the room expectantly.

Ambassador Otho, who knew the story of the fall of Shen Almaru in its long form, looked knowingly at Emperor Nathan of Ghant and his family, hoping to catch a knowing eye, as if to say privately, thank you. The clandestine assistance of Ghantish embassy personnel in Shen Almaru involving the secreting out of messages from loyalist agents, many of whom were still in the islands, couldn't well be alluded to in this open setting.

Finally, Dengmu spoke again, now with a tone of finality, "I have nothing more to say." He hefted the heavy Lord's Coin in his hand and rapped it thrice against the stone table, “My vote will speak for me now,” he concluded. Dengmu sat back down, his face a mask of steely indifference.
Last edited by Emperor Pudu on Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Havensky
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Havensky » Sat Jun 09, 2018 6:06 am

Major Gavin Squall: Heartknight Guardian, The Giant Slayer, Honorary Briskan Hell Knight, and The Heartbreak Count.

Squall had been standing at ease near the back wall of the Skyan section. He was wearing pearl white power armor that was customary for Legionaries assigned to the Diplomatic White Guard. There were a handful of red markings painted on the armor above his nameplate for every battle he’d taken part in. The first was the Skyan Military Academy, then Milograd, then Hab Centre 06, and the Reich itself. Of course, that last marking was drawn to be as vague as possible for obvious reasons. He had other markings on the armor as well. There were the four gold bars for his rank of lieutenant commander. Above the “Skyan Legion” mark were his qualification badges which included a master duelist badge, air assault badge, and expert infantryman badge. Above that was a Dephirian dragon badge depicting his honorary rank of Hell Knight. That particular award was Briskan in nature signaling his rank as a Templar. His right shoulder still bore the shield patch of the Queen’s Guard with a Heartbreak badge above it.

His shield had been updated since he had been retitled as the Heartbreak Count. It still contained a red slingshot with a broken heart as it’s stone against a sable background. It was designed to depict the biblical King David’s slaying of Goliath. Only now, that slingshot had been carved with multitudes of small red lightning bolts. Only Heartknights had custom shields and the fact that he had a dark black shield that contrasted so much with his white armor made him unmistakable.

Every bit of his appearance told the story of his military career and stating quite simply that he was an accomplished military man. As for how Squall felt about his role here, he felt completely useless at a diplomatic confab.

All Skyan officers hoping to advance to the rank of colonel had to receive advanced diplomatic training since it was entirely possible they might have to negotiate on behalf of the Skybound Republic at some level. Atticus had requested that his office conduct his training personally.

It had not gone smoothly. Squall had taken the lessons seriously but lacked the patience required for mediation. He was usually pretty blunt which could get a negotiator in trouble if they weren’t careful.

Squall wasn’t the best public speaker. He had trouble calibrating his vocal range. Atticus’ could make his words go from a warm lullaby to machine gun speed and not miss a beat. Atticus could sound like a freight train or the whisper of the trees. Squall has only two voices. His ‘command’ voice and the quiet subtle one that only close friends could hear.

He also had very little to do at present. All he could do was watch. He watched as Atticus carefully danced verbally around all the little diplomatic obstacles before him. He watched Atticus speak through his stress after the Slaver Emperor tried to goad him. He watched him fiddle with his pen as the first vote went down. He watched as the weight was lifted off his shoulders when it passed.

Squall tried to feel happy when the reforms passed, but the last several times the council had met it always resulted in the same thing. His squad in some foreign country with a weapon in his hands. He trusted Atticus to a point, but at the end of the day when things got rough, it was the Legion that would get the phone call.

As the vote ended and they went on break, he gazed at the Lords and their aides as they walked to and fro. Everyone here was either nervous, scheming, or … in the Chancellor’s case… crazy.

He watched the Briskan Chancellor pack his plate full of food which was...odd behavior to say at least. He was sweaty, unnerved, and acting, unlike any political leader he had ever seen. So, it came as no surprise when he was arrested by the Templars later that afternoon.

He may or may not have let slip to them some of the weird conversations that Citadel Security had overheard.

The speeches were mildly interesting to Squall, but the outcome was out of his control. He knew from the get-go that Atticus would never allow Skaro to become Executor if he could help it. That result would mean his immediate termination as Skyan Secretary of State and quite possibly riots in the streets.

Valentina’s words were inspiring, but Squall couldn’t help but breath a heavy sigh. Were they all like this? How old must have Atticus been when he started speech training? Were they all trained from when they were half-pints for this sort of thing? Did anyone normal ever stand a shot at leadership? He resisted the urge to shake his head. No, Atticus wasn’t born into this even if he had come from wealth. Squall’s family had a history of police service. Most of the men in his family had served, but none had come close to Squall’s rank. If he was honest, these days he seemed downright fancy compared to his family back home

What would his own daughter...daughters...be like he wondered? Edwidge and he had talked about it a bunch of times. Would their hair be platinum blonde like their mother’s or raven black like his? Would they get her charm? Would they be as kind? He hoped so. Gods, he hoped they just had normal lives.

It was then that he noticed Bebe’s little speech and it took quite a bit of willpower not to smack him then and there. Growing up, Squall always hated bullies and Bebe was much worse. He couldn’t imagine what his mother would have done if he had spoken to anyone that way much less his sister.

Lord help him if he ever had a son like that. He started to wonder how the Ironwing twins had turned out so...normal all things considered. He’d have to ask Ironwing when the time came. Hell, he still had to get married first. The war had put everything on hold and he felt guilty about it. Why wouldn’t the world just rest for a spell?

His thoughts were interrupted by radio chatter in his ear.

Heartbreak Count, Citadel Command

He hated that handle. His original Knighted Title was ‘Giant Slayer’ and that had already seemed like a very violent title. Ironwing had once told him that was the point of it. You wern't supposed to like it. It was supposed to keep you queasy about it all. Ironwing had expressed disdain for his own title of ‘The Butcher’s End’ and that he should just embrace it. That was before they had named him the Heartknight Count. Havensky had no such rank as Count. There was the elected monarchy, the Prime Minister, and then the Lords and Ladies who had been knighted for their service. No, Heartbreak Count had referred to the prodigious number of enemies killed by Heartbreak Company when he had been in command.

He despised the title, as he despised the fighting in the first place. The title was almost cruel. If he was every in charge of the Guardian Order he would put a stop to that sort of thing.

Command, this is Count. Go ahead[i/]

[i]We have a report that you need to see.


Squall walked back to the Skyan Lord’s office and into the secure room. There the nuclear explosion was shown to him on the screen.

‘Oh for the love of everything good and holy’ he thought to himself. Of course, of course, there was a damn nuke involved now.

A report already being typed up by an aide. Squall studied it and then walked back into the chamber. He passed the note to Atticus who read it and shown no reaction expect a nod as I’d say, ‘Oh, one more crazy thing that I need to worry about.”

In truth, there was nothing that Atticus could do at present. He was Secretary of State and not the PM or the Secretary of Arms. Assuredly as the sun would rise in the east, Command & Control would reach out to allies and bolster defenses like they always did after an attack. A message had already been drafted and sent on Squall’s behalf letting his counterpart know that they had their support and offering assistance. The ‘Neon Ships’ of the Humanitarian Fleet would get orders to ship out to the site and render medical treatment on special nuclear, biological and chemical warfare response vessels.

Squall returned to his position and stood at ease. He noticed other national leaders getting the news as well. There was a brief commotion as the Aldars were evacuated and then another speech by a half-pint. No, that wasn’t the right word. Half Lord? No... lordspawn? Yes, that was a good word for the lot. Lordspawn. Lordspawn giving the speeches instead of playing around being kids. When he was that age he was playing football.

The sound of Dengmu’s voice brought him back to the Summit. Now, this was a speech Squall liked. Let’s acknowledge why we’re really here. Squall had protested leaving the Unity wanting to continue to oversee the military drills in preparation for the liberation of Shen. One last push for peace, the High Council has insisted. One last try before things really got ugly.

Surprise, there’s been another nuke in the Big G again. And he considered that pretty ugly. He wanted to have the Lords vote and get on with what needed to be done.

In truth, Squall wasn’t sure who Atticus was going to drop the coin for. Has was sure that he would vote for the person who would provide the most stability. He imagined the Senate and the High Council would be pleased with any ally in the big chair including the Ghantish, Briskans, Pudites, Drakonians or the Caesar. So long as it wasn’t a slaver or Kraven. It was the reforms that Atticus wanted most and he had gotten them. The next thing Atticus would spend effort tackling was getting The Golden Throne and the Lords to come to some sort of agreement about their activities in the region and possibly even trying to end their war.

He wasn’t super religious, but even he had started to pray to his god and her goddess that the Lords would somehow stop the war.

Of course, experience had taught him that it would almost always be the soldiers who stopped it instead.
Last edited by Havensky on Sat Nov 10, 2018 8:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Dephire
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Founded: Sep 06, 2005
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Dephire » Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:34 pm

Tristan sat and listened carefully to the others. The coin's weight seemed to disappear as his enhancements kicked in. His cybernetic eye examined its chemical makeup and looked for any weakness in the metals.

"Dengmu," Tristan said with a tone just higher than a whisper, "You are right." He looked up to the man, "You have opened my eyes to how my hands will be tied being stuck behind a desk. It should come at no surprise that I will withdraw my name from the table, not that I had anyone actually considering me as a fit candidate," He gave a quick glare to certain leaders. "My will to bring justice to Gholgoth will not be so easily extinguished. As of now, I have several small fleets sailing towards key areas needing immediate assistance," He looks back to Dengmu, "In remembrance of our long friendship, you will have my saber. Give me time and you shall have a force that will blacken the skies of Gholgoth."

Tristan's eyes turned to Atticus, "Time and time again, my trust in you has chipped away. Ragnarok has informed me of your dealings. The behind the scenes talks of reforms. I thought it was clear that Havensky and Dephire were allies. I thought it was made clearer that part of our friendship was that we were informed of such world-changing negotiations. No matter how good these reforms are for the better of the alliance, what you did has destroyed all trust we had left. I will request you to step down from your position after this summit has concluded. However, that's not my call. This is..." Tristan took the coin in his hand and snapped it into three pieces. He then stood up and walked to chests and dropped one piece in three different chests... One for Nathan, one for Augustus, and one for Silvier. "These three are the best qualified for the position. These three will also keep me in check." He looked up to Atticus, "For I will need someone to hold me back from making an example."

Tristan returned to his chair, "Captain Skaro, I will need to speak with you in private."
Last edited by Dephire on Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"My nation was forged by the blade of a sword and so it lives on through the sword." -Tristan Skragg, Emperor of Briska.

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Havensky
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Havensky » Sun Jun 10, 2018 7:40 pm

It was difficult for Atticus to hear some of the criticism and downright hostility from some of the members of the Gothic Lords. It’s not that he intentionally lied about any of his dealings with the Kraven. Rather, he had just neglected to give the full story to his closest allies.

He had a damned good reason for doing so too. For starters, there was a good chance that nobody would have come to the summit if they thought it was a Kraven trap. Atticus had assumed, correctly, that once they had all gathered and the documents were in front of them the reforms would have enough momentum to pass on their own merits.

The second, more complicated reason, was that Operation Resurrection depending on secrecy. The fewer people that knew about the thousands of Jagites in Neo-Cydonia that were now in Skyan custody, the safer they were. Of course, ‘custody’ was a merely a technicality. In truth, the bulk of Havensky’s humanitarian fleet was being held hostage until the end of the conflict. If everything went according to plan, the fleet would return with thousands of Jagites once thought lost.

If things went wrong, the Skyans would lose them and possibly the Humanitarian Fleet.

So, he hadn’t talked about the deal with Kraven except for Jagada’s ambassador. And he wouldn’t talk about it. And neither would any other Skyan. Not one word. Even if it meant that his allies would be cross with him for a bit.

The good news had been that there had been quite a good debate on who should be Executor and Atticus was pleased with his choices. He hadn’t spoken in favor of anyone in particular as he was running the meeting. However, he was glad to see his favored candidate come forward.

Atticus had already spoken with the High Council before the meeting on who they should support. Almost all the candidates had support from at least one person on the High Council. In the end, it was Atticus who got the final say. He had stated that they should vote for somebody who wasn’t eager for the crown. That their vote should go to somebody who could mediate the conflict - one who wasn’t seen as too much on one side. Somebody with experience and that could hold the line between being diplomatic and being tough when they needed to be.

After the speeches had been winding down, Atticus stood up with the coin in his hand. He walked over to the front of the room towards the stand where the voting boxes had been set up.

Without a word, he placed his coin in the box with the Ghant emblazoned on top.

He sat back down content to watch the rest of the vote from the Skyan throne.
Last edited by Havensky on Sun Jun 10, 2018 7:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Drakonian Imperium
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"Time for Words has Past and the Time for Swords has Come"

Postby Drakonian Imperium » Mon Jun 11, 2018 1:41 am

"Who will you vote for?"

Augustus Drake looked up from the dossier he was reading on Caesar Silvier just in time to see his daughter sit down into the seat in front of him.

"What?" The Drakonian Royals were on their way to the Summit of Gholgothic Lords in Citadel City and in the distant rumble of jet engines and his own distant thoughts Augustus had not quite heard his daughters words.

"For Executor," Lilliana clarified.

Augustus considered her question for a second. Lilliana absently glanced out the aircraft’s window to the bright blue sky and clouds before looking back to her father.

"I’ve never voted for anything of such consequence," the Drakonian Praetor said finally.

Lilliana nodded, the biting her lip and looking down. "Neither have I," she said looking back to her father. "I have never voted in anything more than school elections."

"Nor I," Augustus confirmed his own experiences.

It was not considered proper that the Drakonian Royals participate in elections. They were proud to be servants of the people, and thus were careful not to interfere as little as possible in the various democratic processes in Drakonia and throughout the Imperium. Their charge was to rule and more importantly to protect.

Straightening up in his Augustus pondered the decision before him. Would he vote for himself? To the Drakonian’s mind that did not seem fitting or proper. Voting for oneself was almost always an act of selfish pride. A grave danger to any leader.

Yet, in order to make a wise decision he must select the candidate best suited to accomplish the task set before them. Would a confident and authoritative leader vote for themself? Would someone who knew they could carry out the responsibilities afforded to them? Could Augustus?

Surely there was a better candidate. Augustus looked to the stack of dossiers on his lap and the table in front of him and chair next to him.

"I think I must first look into the eyes of each Lord and listen to their words," Augustus finally said, looking to his daughter. "Only then will I know who to shall have my vote."



Augustus gave a nod of respect to the Ghantish Emperor. He received what he had asked for. He had the final piece to make his difficult decision.

"I have no doubt that before this crisis is over we will need your diplomacy," Augustus addressed Nathan, before looking also to Atticus. "And that too of others."

Augustus paused looking down and collecting his thoughts. Then with purpose he turned to Emperor Dengmu. "But, I believe now that the Time for Words has past and the Time for Swords has come. Until more blood is spilt, I do not think that words can again bring peace."

Looking now to the assembled Lords, Augustus stood. "If you will have me as your Executor, I shall follow strictly the mandate given by your votes and these reforms. I shall put forth the extraordinary effort necessary to bring a lasting peace in Gholgoth."

He looked briefly again to the Pudite Emperor. "As Executor, or as Lord, Drakonian blood shall help purchase that peace."

Then he turned to Prince Fenric. "There can be but one price for that peace: leave Shen Almaru. As Executor, I would give you that ultimatum. And I will show the same fervor in restoring those lands to the Pudite Crown as I would show defending Drana and Gholgoth from foreign incursion. When you are ready for peace, you need but ask."

He turned again to address the Lords. "In my speech before coming to this summit, I said I would see us again united in common goal. That is a terrible and world trembling purpose. We must end this dissension.

"Semper Certans*, Gholgoth."

With that said, Drakonian Monarch turned walked to the podium and cast his vote.

__________________
* Drakonian Latin, meaning "Ever" or "Always Striving".
Last edited by Drakonian Imperium on Mon Jun 11, 2018 2:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Emperor Pudu
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Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby Emperor Pudu » Mon Jun 11, 2018 2:33 am

After Dengmu's words to the assembled Lords it seemed the council chamber had taken on a new character. Tristan Skragg had cast the first vote for Executor and now the room, and on it's back the world, waited to see what would become of Gholgoth. Dengmu energetically pounded a hand on the table before him as Tristan addressed him directly, loudly signaling his favor for what the Dephirian had to say. Lance Atticus, it had to be said, had taken a more decorous route and Dengmu had in turn calmed again by the time the Skyan had cast the vote of his people and returned to his seat. When Augustus rose to speak next, however, the Drakonian's words quickly stirred up in Dengmu that same visceral excitement.

Whatever happened here this day, Dengmu knew, he already had powerful allies in this room. Many were even now heavily invested in the operation to liberate the Shen Almaru archipelago. Blood of Skyans had already been spilt by the Scandin threat, and the islands of Mille Mortifere were already host to millions of Pudite soldiers even as they mobilized their own forces alongside them. Aid had come from many quarters, some unexpected, some pleaded for, and all of it was welcomed. More was yet to come, Dengmu knew, and he was grateful.

Dengmu had for his whole life been a statesman. His first instinct had always been to negotiate. He had sat in the Shizheng national legislature for decades and been a leader in a half a hundred votes whose arguments were any bit as contentious as any exchange in this chamber had been, but this time he felt differently. A sense of martial pride swelled in him. He had said as much himself and now the Drakonian Praetor had said it again: the time for talking was past.

As Augustus was returning to his seat Dengmu suddenly took the initiative again. He slammed a fist down on the table, a single heavy blow, and called out after it in fervent tones, "Yes!" Again the elaborate costume of the big man swayed and rattled as he hauled himself bodily to his feet. He spoke loudly and with great earnestness, "Tristan of Dephire," Dengmu gripped his sword hilt in one hand and drew the other to a fist and pounded it to his breast, "I am proud to call you my brother in this battle!"

Dengmu then took up the Lords Coin in his hand, "And to Augustus of Drakonia," his speech slowed as the weight of the moment bore down on each syllable, "I would be proud to call you my Executor." The Pudite Emperor then strode confidently to the podium and dropped the coin into the Drakonian box.
Last edited by Emperor Pudu on Mon Jun 11, 2018 2:44 am, edited 5 times in total.

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Aldarminia
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Capitalist Paradise

Postby Aldarminia » Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:30 pm

Gothic Council Chamber
Co-written with Ghant and Kylarnatia

With the attentiveness of a shepherd, Ryslander watched and listened as the Gothic Lords continued the war of words where they vied for the wills of Gholgoth to name either themselves or their preferred, fellow Lord to become Executor. The Aldarminian Prynz was captivated, enthralled even, as it dawned upon him that not long before he had spoken presumptively to these power-incarnates as an equal. With Skragg setting the precedent, the vote had begun, and Ryslander was weighing his options with all the mental gymnastics he could. A fierce fire was finding oxygen with which to breathe in his souls he observed the proceedings of those who casted their votes. He wished to do the same, but one of the speeches, before even the first coin had been cast into the bowl, had struck a surprising but fragile chord within him. Ryslander turned in his seat to the Emperor Nathan of Ghant, but even before the Prynz could do so, the Hæres of Kylarnatia rose from his seat to speak.

“Lords and Ladies of Gholgoth, if I may,” the young Julianus spoke, the clink of his armour and rattling of his saber causing some noise. “Having been inspired by not only my Aldarminian cousin but also a particularly brave princess…” he gestured politely towards Valentina, with a very sincere smile, “I’d like to take this opportunity to also share a few words, and perhaps prove that I have been paying attention to my tutors and put what they’ve taught me into practice.”

“Let it be stated on the records of this great day that I speak for myself, as not just the son of my Caesar and heir to her throne but also as a son of Gholgoth. I’m sure you’d all agree that those of us here today who are still to come of age are this region’s future, so it’s important for us to bare witness to what is going on here but also prove our metal. If the young Valentina can do it, then so can I.” He proclaimed triumphantly, placing the plumed helmet he carried under his shoulder down on the table. He then placed his right hand on the hilt of his sword to keep it steady while holding his left to his chest, making slight gestures and movements as he spoke, though not too much as to cause a distraction.

“Now it’s not my place - at least, not right now - to tell you all how I think you should vote. Most of you have already made up your minds, and I’m sure you’ve done so with the best intentions, and of course if I had a vote, it could only go to one person…” He smiled warmly to his mother, whose eyes glistened and nodded politely, prompting him to continue. “But allow me and my curiosity to explore deeper into the issues being discussed here. I hope that as I learn things, it can help provide clarity for the remaining of you to decide how to vote.”

“Emperor Nathan--Your Majesty--if you’ll indulge me for a moment.” He turned his attention to the Ghantish delegation, occasionally sharing a brief glance with Princess Sara. “I, like many here today, was very impressed and inspired by the speech you gave here today. By all accounts you are a strong candidate and, contrary to what my mother and others initially said, very deserving of consideration for the role of Executor. I know even she would agree. Still…” he paused for a moment, allowing his previous statement to sink in around the room. “Let me play devil’s advocate and pose two questions to you, because some of what you said did cause me to ponder in the back of my mind.”

Picking up one of the touchpads which was placed before his mother, the young Hæres continued. “Before me right now I have the reforms, as they were just adopted by this council. To you, your Majesty, I ask: Firstly, you promised to see to the vitality of the Gothic fortresses, and endeavour to end non-consensual colonization and conquests within Gholgoth. Sensible ideas, but nothing I’ve read within the reforms adopted by this Council says to me that you would have the power to influence those matters more than any other Lord: Indeed, the Fortresses serve as facilities for the Praetors and in that sense you have remit, but otherwise the responsibility of the fortresses falls on us all, especially those of us who are housing them. Furthermore, your mandate and term as Executor--should you be elected--is defined by the crisis for which you are elected. Forgive me, but I don’t see how you or anyone else could bring an end to these issues in the next ten years, let alone one. Therefore, how did you envision yourself fulfilling these promises? At the moment, I cannot help but treat them as empty ones, albeit well-intentioned.”

Taking a moment's pause, he then continued. “Second: you’ve informed us that your ties to the Triumvirate give you potential leverage in helping bring a diplomatic solution to this impending conflict between the Golden Throne and the Scandinvans. Again however, reading from the reforms as they were adopted, the Executor is responsible for chairing these meetings and executing the will of the Council, staying as a neutral authority. While you’re not directly involved, could this not serve as a conflict of interest, say if the Council votes to take non-diplomatic means?”

Both questions were neatly transcribed by an aide and passed along to the Ghantish camp, so that Nathan could refer back to them when answering. “I mean you no hostility or ill will, your Majesty, but I do believe these are questions which deserve to be answered before the vote is final. It’s my belief that if these reforms are to be taken seriously, they should be observed as they have been adopted. If we already start to bend the rules, then there was no point in making them in the first place.” As he returned to his seat, the Caesar took his hand and squeezed it gently, sharing a glance that simply read “You’ve made me proud.”

The Emperor of Ghant coughed into his hand, and then he proceeded to rub his chin thoughtfully. “Very good questions, your Majesty, thank you. It’s apparent that you have your mother’s mind...with a razor’s edge. I will try to answer your questions to the best of my ability. Now, as Executor, it is my understanding that the office is a sort of trust, if you will, of the Gothic Alliance and it’s associated apparatus, of which the Fortresses would be. Now, while you were gone, some in this chamber have made it clear that they will view these Fortresses with suspicion and mistrust. Some have even gone further to say that they will not recognize the authority of the Praetors. That is why it is essential to have an Executor who makes it clear, from day one, that these are tools of the Gothic Alliance, for the good of Gholgoth. While I cannot promise anything that is beyond my control, I can promise what is in my control, and that would be making it official policy that these things are to be shown the proper care and courtesy due unto them.”

Nathan scratched his scalp and searched for the words he wanted to summon forth to answer the prince’s follow-up question. “As to your second inquiry, it reminds me of something my grandmother used to tell me. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. When I spoke of what capabilities I possess in relation to the conflict with the Triumvirate, I was merely referring to options that I have at my disposal...which are at the disposal of the Gothic Council. Naturally I would defer to the judgment of this esteemed body on regional decisions such as how to proceed with the Triumvirate. If the Council in its wisdom decides to pursue diplomacy, then I shall be able to execute that. If the Council decides to pursue war, then I have means that others in this chamber do not possess that would give us a greater chance to succeed.”

A drink of water, and Nathan finished his answer by explaining that “so there wouldn’t be a conflict of interest, because I would be beholden to the will of the council, as a neutral party that is capable of arbitrating intra-regional disputes between member states of the Gothic Alliance. As my daughter said, I am no Gothic Lord’s enemy,” he ended with a smile. “I hope that answers your question, your Highness...please feel free to ask anything else, or seek clarification.”

Julianus had sat and listened intently to the Ghantish Emperor’s words. While not completely convinced by his answers, he could not deny they were suitable and very tactile ones, and he did not seek to prolong this discussion longer than it needed to be. He felt that his questions had served their purpose, and it’d be up for the remaining Gothic Lords to decide whether they were satisfied by his answers. “That will be all for now, your Majesty. Thank you for giving me your time, and best of luck in your candidacy.”

The fire within Ryslander’s heart roared at Julianus’s deft display of diplomatic acumen. Envious though the Prynz was of level of skill, he was only more-so-invigorated and encouraged to speak now, lest he never find his peace. A magnanimous grin was allowed by his internal filter for this was certainly a time to be inspired and joyous in spite of the crises abundant. Rising with a nod to his young comrade, the Hæres, Ryslander then turned once more to the Ghantish Emperor. Careful-if-not-forward in his words and actions, the Aldarminian mimicked to some degree his fellow youth, “Lords of Gholgoth, if I may?”

A terse but courteous pause was extended unto them before he continued to address Nathan directly, “Your Majesty,”--a quick glance shot towards Bebe as if to say You must earn such a recognition of respect from me, as your father has...--“I wish to explore further what our Kylarnatian comrade has inquired you about. Particularly, I wish to add the following questions that have run their natural course in my mind and now must be answered.”

Ryslander elaborated after giving the Ghantar a potentially discomforting stare with his Alnardic amethysts of eyes, “What is stopping your friendly acquaintances in the Triumvirate from placing the same pressures on you, and thus compromising your position as Gothic Lord?"

The Aldarminian Prince took things a step further, literally-so, but by the time he had halved the distance between himself and Nathan, what smile had been on his face was replaced by a solemn visage. “How can we trust you not to conspire against the Alliance's interests? I do not wish to imply that you have lost confidence among us. In fact, I wish to confirm that such is not the case, mutually-speaking, at all. However…”

The Prince’s glances and gestures now danced carefully upon the eggshells of the likes of Skaro and Fenric as well as the door leading out from from the Council Chamber to where the Macabeean Emperor possibly lurked. “...There are those among us who would happily see Gholgoth turned to ash if they could be certain its fleets and armies never sailed and marched upon their neighbors' or allies' seas and shores again. If you would speak to the Triumvirate on behalf of the Gothic Lords, I demand--No. I challenge you to do so among your fellow Lords.”

Considering those inquiries thoughtfully, Nathan wiggled his lips and took another drink of his water. “What pressure could the Triumvirate place upon me? They have no leverage, no means by which they can put the squeeze on me. My people are like trees, our roots are strong and grow deep, entangling ourselves within the very earth itself. My position as Gothic Lord is one that I take very seriously, and always have. No man could ever doubt where my loyalties ultimately lie.”

To the second question, Nathan stated firmly that “the interest of Gholgoth is unity and peace. Those are two things that I’ve worked towards for the past thirty years. I swore an oath to this alliance, and any man that knows me knows that in all my life I’ve never broken an oath that I’ve personally swore...”

“...Except the oath you swore to my mother,” the Crown Prince of Ghant boldly proclaimed, standing up.

Like a provoked viper, the Emperor glared at his eldest son and heir over his shoulder, before sighing. Another look was cast upon Valentina, who looked embarrassed, for it was her mother with whom that marital vow was forever broken.

Ryslander retorted with a nigh-violent twist of his head and body to face the younger Nathan. Contrasting to the bodily motion, the Prynz spoke calmly if not condescendingly, “Young Prince, my Peer, Comrade of the Gothic Youth,” sneering and patronizing, “Your Majesty, as of right now, you are not, by any means a Lord of Gholgoth or a representative of such. You are an attendant. An attache. Unless you have something to contribute to this discussion, something of substance that is, I ask you kindly to stay silent while your father and Lord of Gholgoth is speaking. Matters of the family, whatever they may be, oaths or not, are not to be discussed here. However, what’s been said has been said, and you yourself have brought needless shame to your father. By implication of your statement and the nature of this Chamber, His Majesty Nathan of Ghant must now, for the record, defend himself yet again for what I presume to be a matter of the bed, not of the blade or the pen.”

He cheated on your mother. Do get over it, boy. We must be stronger and wiser than this, Ryslander thought before he turned to face the Ghantish Emperor again and almost-begged, “Please, continue, Your Majesty.” Bebe looked as though he wanted to speak in rage, his face turning red, yet he stayed his tongue, and folded his arms once more as he shrunk down into his seat.

“It is true, I betrayed my wife, my Empress,” Nathan said. “And I’ve lived with that shame for the past fourteen years. Aye, I know how that affected her, my children, my country...and me. I cannot bear such a pain again. I would die before I ever broke an oath that I ever so solemnly swore.”

Looking somberly upon the floor, Nathan searched for what he’d say about the Triumvirate, and Feodor. He half glanced Ryslander once he figured out what he wanted to say. “I understand that the Golden Emperor Feodor himself will attend us following the conclusion of this vote. Here’s what I will tell you, Ryslander of Aldarminia. If I am elected Executor of Gholgoth, then I will confront him when he enters this chamber to face us. I will ask him, ‘will you treat with me as leaders of our respective factions, and make a good faith effort to end this war and seek out a mutually satisfactory peace, right here and now? And if asked, would you have all Triumvirate military assets depart from Gholgoth, should such an arrangement be reached? I think if it is me that Feodor faces, both questions shall receive a satisfactory response.”

“All I know is that my desire is to unify Gholgoth and settle the issues that divide us, and bring peace so we can heal. That is what is in my heart.” Nathan cast a glance at Augustus Drake, and added that “others have spoken of war, of ultimatums and threats. Those are all things that would further weaken and divide Gholgoth, and embolden our enemies. That's a fact.”

“I have nothing but heart and respect for your wishes for a peaceful and bloodless resolution, your Majesty, and if it can be achieved so it should be done.” Julianus chimed back in. “But I believe the fires of war which the Praetor speaks of were kindled long before this meeting ever took place. The lines have been drawn in the sands of Shen Almaru, and they cannot be erased. This will be the burden of whomever becomes Executor: controlling the damage and preventing further escalation. Regardless of who is chosen, your Majesty, you will have my support and I share your dream for the future, but I’m sure you know that the nature of Gholgoth cannot be changed, only tamed. Alea iacta est. That’s a fact.”

Bebe frowned as he looked past his brothers towards his twin sister Sara, who, sitting properly in her exquisite dress, flashed a pearly white smile flanked by blushing cheeks at Julianus. The Crown Prince couldn’t help but sigh heavily and shake his head.

After ruminating on the Emperor’s and the Hæres’s words, Ryslander stood once more, but not to speak. He made his way to the bowls, and gave the Gothic Lords and their numerous companions in the Council Chambers one last scanning stare, purple eyes looking for a soul pierce if they could perceive any at all. Somewhere, the Prynz found one: Olav Doshsvyn. Unlike the rest of the Gothic Lords and their families, Ryslander had but one person here on which to rely with the utmost confidence of countrymen. No kin of his remained in the Chamber. They were, as far as the Zygostratium was concerned, safe somewhere far away. Ryslander wanted to keep it that way, but with the adjustment that Gholgoth could become the haven for the Imperial Blood House Aszcheyko that the region deserved to be.

Surreptitiously, a flip of fates occurred. Turning over his hand, the decision became clear. The coin dropped, and with a silent salute--a firm fist curled upon his heart--and a bow to his Gothic Lords, Ryslander, first of his name, sat down.

Emperor Nathan turned and waved to his daughter Valentina, gesturing for her to come forward. The young red-haired princess made her way to her father, and came to a stop beside his great seat. “I cannot in good conscious cast this coin while I stand as a candidate in this election,” Nathan informed his daughter. “You have spoken well today, and represented yourself, our nation, our house...and me, with honor,” he smiled. “Therefore, I leave this coin to you.” Carefully, Nathan plucked the coin from the table and placed it in Valentina’s hands. “And to you, my daughter, I leave the vote.”

Valentina bowed her head, and let a dignified, purposeful expression spread across her face. “Thank you, father. I will bear this responsibility with honor.” Having said that, Valentina nodded and went off in the direction of the voting receptacles with her father’s coin in hand. Approaching the specified area carefully, she looked for the Ghantish seal, and upon finding it, placed the coin into that box. As she returned to her seat, she couldn’t help but notice the cold, malicious stare Bebe was giving her, as though he were shooting daggers out of his eyes at her. Yet when she returned to her seat, she smirked stealthily.
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Kylarnatia
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The Caesar Votes

Postby Kylarnatia » Tue Jun 12, 2018 5:43 pm

The Gothic Chambers, Citadel City
Gholgoth


Silvier was glad to see that Augustus had some strong support within the room, but undoubtedly she had underestimated Nathan's desire for the Executorship. She would be the first to admit to it, and in a way she was pleasantly surprised. While she couldn't deny that he was a capable ruler and cunning diplomat--when he wanted to be--she didn't exactly have the best impression of him. Despite her desire to have stronger ties with the Ghantish throne, that was more so through her personal interactions with the Empress Sophia and the nations fine statesmen and representatives rather than the man himself. But then, the two of them were very different people: he was provincial, reserved and self-contained. She was ambitious, charming and overreaching. At least, those were the words she had heard from Sophia, and the Caesar could agree with that assessment. Despite all her disagreements with the Ghantish Emperor, however, she had no hate for him. Even if he was flawed, his heart was in the right place, and he didn't lay down easily. That deserved respect.

Then there was Valentina. Silvier could not help but admire the girls love for her father, despite the open hostility from her older brother. She watched as the young princess went to cast the vote on behalf of the Ghantish delegation, knowing full well where the coin would fall, the weight of the responsibility not doing anything to phase her. "Many things can be bought, but never a daughter's love for her father." The Caesar knew this full well, and for a moment her mind wondered back to when she was a pint-sized princess following in the big footprints left by her father, Kain the Great. While the pain and trauma caused by his sudden and tragic death to a battle wound had passed, her own wound had not fully healed. Whatever the result of the election, she would be sure to praise Valentina later. The snide remark from Bebe caused her to snap back to reality. Should his father win, she would have to console him.

After Ryslander had voted, Silvier looked once to both Hyperion and Julianus, who both looked to her calmly and it was as if they shared their thoughts together through their stares. Gracefully she stood once again, picking up the coin carefully from the table and observing it closely under the artificial light that hung above her. As she did so, the acolyte - who had for the most part been silent throughout the proceedings of the meeting - began to speak a prayer at a level just audible to anyone who cared to listen, although the prayer wasn't intended for mortal ears. Those who had perhaps cared to study the sacred scripts and tongue of the Silvier Sacerdotium would know that she was praying for the Caesar's "token" - her vote - to reflect positively on the soul of her chosen candidate. After taking a moment of silent reflection, Silvier then made her way to the voting area. Identifying the choices laid out in front of her, she took another look at the coin, rubbing her thumb over the impression of the hydra on the coin, before looking towards the empty throne that would serve as the seat of the Executor, where Dreadfire would have once sat. Then, to all the occupants of the chamber.

"May the Grand Mother strengthen the resolve of whoever is chosen to carry the burdens of this office, and may their heart not grow white at the realisation of the prices this Council must pay in order to achieve peace. Semper Certans, Gholgoth."

For a brief moment, silence. Then the coin dropped.


CINV Resolution, Gholgoth-Class Aircraft Carrier
13th Carrier Battle Group, 5th Fleet
Near the Ekraysian Strait, Gholgoth


The Fifth Fleet of the Imperium Antiquum had been doing a routine deployment around the southern half of Gholgoth Major. The main bulk of the force waited patiently like hungry serpents, chief among them the fleet's flagship - the Dreadfire-Class Superdreadnought Apopthis - in the harbours of Imperium Telros, while various groups of vessels were deployed on rotation to go out further afield. One such group, the Thirteenth Carrier Battle Group, had been originally tasked to sail to the tip of Ekraysia until they received priority orders to make haste to a set of coordinates just off the coast of Shen Almaru. Every sailor knew that this had to mean something important was going down, but their commanding officers had been told to keep quiet as to what. Some wondered if things had kicked off early - all of them had read the opinion pieces on the Scandinvan occupation of the islands and the Pudite quest to reclaim them - and while the Imperium Antiquum had no official stake in the conflict, it wasn't going to sit by idly. Ever since the Milograd Wars, Kylarnatia's military doctrine had taken a sharp turn towards prevention, containment and domination. When the ships of the Freekish Empire started disappearing from the shipping lanes of Gholgoth, the Dux Praefector's of the Caesar's Imperial Navy proposed a new strategy: Mare Nostrum - The Imperium would field a navy to be the envy of the region and the world, and they would police the waves. Since the introduction of the strategy, the Caesar's Imperial Navy had grown tenfold in size.

Proculus Mamilius Celer, Navarch of the Thirteenth Carrier Battle Group and commanding from the Resolution, had become somewhat of a minor folk hero back home in Kylarnatia. He was the model officer, having served in the Navy since the age of sixteen and never looking back, working his way up the ranks by going by procedure until the situation demanded quick thinking and unorthodox strategies. He was great for the recruitment material, but was also praised for his personal heroism; during Operation Broken Hammer - the Kylarnatian naval blockade of Fortress Norska in the First Milograd War - Proculus and the crew of his previous charge the CINV Brigadier had been able to rescue hundreds of shipwrecked sailors while under heavy and relentless fire, before successfully dropping a depth charge on a dreaded Kraven submarine, immeasurably saving thousands more. The whole experience had steeled him, and nothing ever seemed to make him flinch or lose his nerve.

The deck of the Resolution was orderly but full of activity, as officers and ensigns moved between stations, giving and carrying out orders as was necessary. Proculus sat at his command throne, looking out of the windows to the choppy waters and thrashing rain. The deck of the carrier was clear and so the rain just bounced off, dancing up into the air with a natural rhythm that was both awing but also skin-crawling to watch if you weren't a fan of rain. The Navarch was not, but he wasn't going to be picky about a few drops of water; he was in the wrong line of work for that. Instead he occasionally found himself bothered by a brief, but sharp sensation in the back of his head. He had come to count on it as his own sixth sense: something wasn't right, and so far he'd been given little information as to what, other than being told to expect to hear more from the Pudite High Command as he drew closer. He knew that a sizeable portion of the Fifth Fleet would soon be behind him, but he didn't like being kept in the dark by Dux Praefector Osorkon. For now, he and the few ships under his command would be the first on the scene, and that's what he'd have to work with until more arrived.

Running his right hand over his bald cranium as if to dismiss the sensation, Proculus then stood and signalled to one of his officers at the navigation station. "How much longer until we arrive at the designated location?"

"At our current pace, a full day, my Navarch." The officer replied after confirming with his ensigns.

"And the weather?" He looked over to another station.

"Set to clear once we get past the Ekraysian strait, my Navarch." The next officer replied.

"Very good. Once it's clear I want our planes in the air to give us a greater idea of our surroundings. Is that understood?"

"Yes, Navarch!" Several now replied in chorus, pounding their chests in salute.

"Good. Make it so."
Last edited by Kylarnatia on Sun Jul 22, 2018 8:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Emperor Myric
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Founded: Nov 04, 2012
Ex-Nation

Postby Emperor Myric » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:18 am

The Gothic Chambers, Citadel City
Ghogoth


It was quite a momentous occasion, and even he felt out of his depth somewhat.

Eidolon Arcovia sat watching the various politics, talking and debating two and fro, votes being cast and history being made. It made him itch, uncomfortably so. He had no qualms about standing and talking to arrayed national leaders, or even speaking to the millions in person at home, but this… This was history being made and he knew his decision could possibly sway a future in the entire region.

Arcovia had always been a small nation, ever on the defensive wary of outsiders and focused very much on itself. Tiny in size but with sprawling urbanisation to the point of colossal spires that contained billions of people the Arcovians had only recently taken their place on the regional stage coming to the conclusion that their varying isolation was to only hold them back. Eidolon himself had overseen the diplomacy with the Kylanartians who had been close allies for a number of years and a deal had been reached with Arcovia kneeling to the Caesar and accepting a place within the empire as a Protectorate. As such the Kingdom of Arcovia had been suddenly been thrust into the limelight and such a leap of faith still was hard to come to terms with. Eidolon had watched the proceedings with interest, the man was in his late forties having been pronounced king after his father had died of old age. The memories of the procession across the islands still ripe despite the years. His long hair was kept in good shape and his long beard was as much an icon for Arcovia as the national flag itself was, often to his amusement when he teased the press about having a shave.

By his side sat his first son Luscious Arcovia, resplendent in his military uniform and paying attention like a hawk, always taking in every detail and always eager to devour new information and experiences. The other side sat Kirine Eidolons daughter, a cold thinker and recluse who also seemed to watch and listen intently. Eidolon smiled to himself, the two would be at much conflict to decide who they would have voted for. Both children were rivals, equal heirs to the throne in Arcovian law and tradition, but that was an age away yet he knew they were not ready. And his two other sons Marklete and Raxis were more statesmen than leaders.

Eidolon was taken out of his musings by the form of the Caesar Silvia casting her vote, she was beautiful and he had admired her for some time. She had his respect as a leader and as a person and he had never in his time of reign disagreed with her insights, while many in the upper houses of the parliament had done so. With her vote cast Eidolon realised it was now a good a time as any to cast his. He suffered in the knowledge that he did not know any of the other leaders personally, neither did he know the two put forward in any sort of first hand way but he had his choice already given to him, the sheer fact that the Caesar had allowed Arcovia to represent itself here of its free will was honour enough. And now he would repay that.

He stood up, the beautifully inlaid honorary suit he wore to represent his nation sparkled slightly. He leant on his equally ornate walking stick as he nodded to all those present here. And hobbled over to the voting area, standing as straight as his damaged back would allow. He fiddled with the coin in his fingers overlooking the choices.

“I choose this vote knowing that I did my part, in deciding the correct history of this region. Long live the Kingdom” He said aloud. With a flick of his fingers the coin was dropped and the vote was cast. Arcovia had done its part, it had finally helped to make its mark.

Eidolon just hoped it was the correct one.

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The Kraven Corporation
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Founded: Apr 24, 2005
Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby The Kraven Corporation » Sat Jun 16, 2018 1:33 pm

Skaro sighed.

Skaro sighed as he had done quite often while these proceedings were taking place, he listened to each of the Lords, he listened to them quietly as they accused him of being a machine man like the others, he laughed to himself, he understood where they were coming from, but he wasn't one of them, he was a Kravenite yes, but not a programmed one and most certainly not a Capper, he watched as Silvier floated over and gave him a look, he had seen that look before, he laughed again, but he realised that The Lords had turned this meeting into a meeting about themselves, Skaro putting himself forward was only half hearted at best, if anything he got a perverse pleasure from standing there and telling all the Lords how much he hated them, he chuckled thinking about the looks on their faces as he spoke, but it wasn't going to work and Skaro could no longer tolerate the farce this was quickly becoming.

He stood up from his chair and quietly dropped his token into the box marked "Ghant" he looked at Atticus...

"The least worst option, Atticus, before I return to my boat, two things... It's not going to work and the Executor was never supposed to be a Lord, it was supposed to be a common man or woman, like you, me or Squall over there..."

He paused for a moment, running his hand through the thick stubble on his face, then took his cap off, he ran his hand through his hair and placed the cap back on and turned to leave, giving Atticus a nod as he did, then strode through the chambers, he paused for a moment, stopping at Tristan, he threw the envelope that Halsley had given onto the table... "If Halsley thinks for a second I'm going to give Dietrich that kind of information He's a fucking mad man, I was going to drop it into the bay but here, you can have it back..." Skaro had no interest in meeting with Tristan in private and continued down the chambers pausing once more at Silvier...

He looked at her for a moment, pretty, he thought, nice eyes, he gave her the same look she had given him, though his looked more like he was judging the distance between himself and her and where exactly to place the Torpedo, he smirked a little and walked on, leaving the chamber to make his way back to the bay and return to the U-96...
Last edited by The Kraven Corporation on Sat Jun 16, 2018 1:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Lamehk
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New York Times Democracy

The Will of Malus

Postby Lamehk » Sat Jun 16, 2018 9:56 pm

The Gothic Chamber, The White Citadel
Citadel City, Havensky


'Well, there goes the most interesting person in the room,' said Serana, resignedly, as Captain Skaro walked the last few steps out of the chamber. Her silver eyes followed the scruffy man until the doors thudded closed behind him. She sighed and then spoke again, this time in a tone with considerable venom added. 'I suppose now we'll get to listen to more preening brats pretend to be lords.'

Lorkahn made no reply and simply shrugged, but the barest hint of a smirk creased the corners of his lips, unseen by his daughter from where she remained perched on the side of his throne.

'Sure,' continued Serana, 'the girl was briefly amusing, but what, now they all have to have a say? The little toy soldier,' she looked to Julianus, giving a brief derisive snort. 'That little bastard,' she said with malice, her gaze falling upon the Crown Prince of Ghant. 'If that one speaks, I may just not be able to refrain from violence, father.'

'Do you want a turn, my dear?' asked Lorkahn, antagonistically, as he turned to look at her. 'I don't mind.'

Serana's glare was scathing, and as no words followed, it constituted the entirety of her answer.

Finally the smirk broke across Lorkahn's face, and he held up his left hand to his daughter, the Lord's Coin sitting pincered between his index and middle fingers. 'Then how about you cast our vote. I don't want you feeling left out.'

To Lorkahn's surprise, there was no retort. No sarcasm or seething looks. Serana simply smiled sweetly and plucked the coin from between his fingers. 'As you wish, father.'

Rising gracefully, golden silk shimmering and golden scales tinkling faintly, Serana circled around the council chamber, striking a radiant and alluring figure as she went. When she reached the voting boxes, she paused by the Drakonian box, casting a brief glance around the room. Many eyes were upon her, but she ignored all but one, her piercing gaze directed solely at the Ghantar Prince they called Bebe, before very deliberating continuing on to the box for Ghant and dropping the Lord's Coin in. She held her eyes on him for a moment longer, and then with a somewhat sultry wink, turned away and returned to the Lamehken throne, where she resumed her place perched upon the arm by her fathers side.

'Perhaps my memory is not what it was,' said Lorkahn, affecting a confused aura, 'but I was sure we were voting for the good Drakonian Praetor?'

'You know,' began Serana in response, sounding particularly self-satisfied, 'I think I am begging to understand your little game. Perhaps not all of it, but in good time. For one, I know you couldn't care less who gets your vote.'

Lorkahn frowned. 'That seems beside the point. Now I’ve said one thing and done another, the Drakonian may be offended.'

Serana made an effort to lean slightly to the side and observe the Praetor sitting beyond her father. 'He doesn't appear overly fussed. And now you might have some goodwill from the Ghantar for whatever it is exactly you are garnering it from all corners for.' She leaned back again and smiled pleasantly.

'Hmm, we will see.' Lorkahn too sat back in his chair, appearing unfazed and as if waiting for whatever was to happen next. 'I trust that you at least had a good reason to choose the Ghantar. You wouldn't possibly have altered the course of Gholgoth's history on a whim to spite some fool child.'

'Of course, father,' answered Serana innocently. 'Only the very best of reasons.'

They both knew it was a lie.
Last edited by Lamehk on Sat Jun 16, 2018 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Havensky
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Your Vote Counts

Postby Havensky » Thu Jun 28, 2018 2:34 pm

Joint post by Aldarminia, Ghant, Kylarnatia, and Dephire

As the last vote was cast, the large coin clinked against the other coins in the box.

Atticus rose from the Skyan throne and buttoned his suit as he walked over to the voting box. As he did so, two White Guard members flanked him before reaching the podium that held the box. The Guards removed the front cover of the podium exposing the voting boxes. As the two guards carried the snakehead to the side. Two more Guards moved to the side of the podium and together pulled at four handles. As they did so, the container that held the boxes came out of the podium and was carried to the roundtable for all the Lords gathered to see. The voting may have been private, but the count would be open for all to see.

“My Lords, we will now count the votes. I will remove the coins for each box in alphabetical order. As we have discussed with your government’s before, a member of your security will be next to me to verify our count. The first nation we will count is The Grand Imperial Kosmokratium of Aldarminia.”

The Blood Guard and leader of the Aldarminian security detail, Olav stepped forward and took their place next to Atticus. Atticus removed the top of the box. He picked the box up and showed the contents to the Olav. He then turned the box so that its bottom was facing out and turned it so all the Lords could see.

“The box is empty. Mr. Doshsvyn, do you agree?”

Da, I agree.”

Atticus closed the box and put it back in its place. He did the same steps for Artitsa and had the Briskan Templar Skarra Halsley stand in for Automagfreek’s security detail. The Freeks had not appeared at the conference. However, the traditions still must be upheld and it made sense to have the oldest nation stand in for the Dreadfires.

As the Skyan diplomat continued the count, Olav returned to his place beside Ryslander. Leaning in over the Prince’s shoulder, he spoke softly from within his helmet to whisper through the vox outputters, “Your father will be pleased to know he will be unburdened by the position’s impartiality.”

The Aldarminian Prince smirked, watching the proceedings continue. History was in the making.

When they reached the Drakonian Imperium, Atticus began to remove the coins one by one showing each coin to the room as he counted.

“Praetor Augustus Drake has received four votes. Colonel Seius, do you agree”

“I agree.”

This continued until they reached Emperor Nathan of Ghant.

“May I have the Knight of Ducks approach?”

As the Ghantish Knight named Rolli Ahateremu stepped forward, clad in his ceremonial armor with the helm in the visage of a rubber duck, Atticus counted each coin out loud as he laid them on the stone table.

“One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven votes for Nathan. Knight of Ducks, do you agree?”

“I agree,” Rolli answered with a plain, but slightly amused expression.

The Nacaal and Emperor Fenric each had one vote respectfully. Finally, Atticus declared Vetalia’s box empty and the counting was complete.

“The counting being complete and witnessed by all, we declare before you the Lords of Gholgoth that Emperor Nathan IV of The Empire of Ghant is the new Executor of the Gothic Council. Executor Nathan, please step forward and claim the Executor’s Throne.”

The reactions from the Ghantish guests were widely varied. Valentina practically jumped out of her seat with raised fists in triumph. Sara, Valerie and Blanche each offered soft applauses including golf claps and muffled cheers. Prince John and Prince Victor stood and clapped. Lara Jarasa looked on with an approving nod. Bebe, on the other hand, sulked in his chair, his face so red that it was fast approaching a tomato.

Nathan, on the other hand, rose from his seat, purposefully but slowly. He pursed his lips and shook his arms loose...as though he could already feel the weight of the office bearing down upon him. Steadily he walked forward towards Atticus, each step a bit heavier than the one previous, though still on gentle feet. One last glance over his shoulder at his daughter Valentina, who spoke so highly of her father that even he was inspired to believe in himself. He came to stand still near Atticus, his gaze wandering amongst his peers.

Atticus paused to allow for the room to offer congratulations and stepped aside from the podium. For his part, he began to clap profusely. Several of the Lords, including Dengmu and Tristan, slapped the table with wide smiles. Caesar Silvier and Lord Hyperion traded glances with each other before she too tapped the table with her gauntlet and gave a warm expression, while the Haeres Julianus gave applause, all the while smiling not just at Nathan but also the Princess Imperial Sara. Indeed, Sara and all of her siblings, with the exception of the Crown Prince of Ghant, slapped the table in unison. Lorkahn offered no claps or smiles but simply gave a slight nod of his head when Nathan’s gaze passed his way.

As the din died down, Atticus raised his hands into the air asking for quiet.

“My Lords, we will break for just a moment while we prepare for the swearing in. Our friend and peer Emperor Tristan has sponsored a feast and drinks to celebrate our new accords. The feast will be in the dining hall after the swearing-in ceremony, but what is a ceremony without drink?”

At that moment, several Templars entered the chamber with barrels of beer and whiskey. Skyan staff had set up tables for the barrels with glasses large and small.

Silvier was the first to rise from her throne, making her way directly to Nathan with Hyperion, Julianus and the Sacerdotium acolyte following close behind. The Haeres turned his attention to Sara and Valentina, congratulating the young girl. “A lot of the credit should go to you, y’know.” he smiled.

The Ghantish Emperor’s children were gathering to congratulate their father personally, none more eager to do so than Valentina. When the Haeres addressed her, she smiled brightly and told him that “sometimes all you need to succeed and achieve your true potential is to have someone believe in you. Nobody believes in father more than me!”

Hyperion pounded his chest in salute of the new Executor, the sound echoing around the chamber like thunder. “Congratulations, your Grace.” Meanwhile, the acolyte gave him a short prayer, asking for the angels of Avaris to guide and protect him in his new role.

Lastly, Silvier spoke, smiling warmly at him. “Well, your Grace, it seems the Lords have spoken quite decisively. I underestimated your presence of mind in the situation, and for that I owe you an acknowledgement of respect. Allow me…” The Caesar then went to the tables where the alcohol was being prepared, and proceeded to pour two small glasses of the finest whiskey available, enough for a mouthful each. She then returned to the Ghantish Emperor and passed him one of the glasses, before raising hers to him.

“It’s no secret that neither of us have exactly seen eye-to-eye on a lot of things, but I am true to my word: I made it clear that I would support this Council’s choice regardless of my preferences, and that I would support them with all that I and the Imperium have at our disposal. So this is a pledge to you to do just that, and may our efforts not be in vain. My counsel will be available to you at any time should you desire it, and rest assured I shall be vocal in this Chamber when business continues tomorrow. Until then…” she clinked her glass with Nathan’s. “Semper Certans, Gholgoth.”

Nathan accepted Silvier’s offering graciously, with a warm smile, as his children came up to hug him, led by Valentina. “Thank you, Your Majesty and Lord Hyperion. I’ve never demanded respect, or anything for that matter. Whatever respect I am to receive, I shall earn. Your support is welcome, and most reassuring. There is much work to be done, and I believe that together, there’s nothing that we cannot achieve.” Nathan raised his glass and echoed Silvier’s words. “Semper Certans, Gholgoth.”

Downing her drink, she then placed the glass on the table. Gesturing for Hyperion, Julianus and the acolyte to remain, she made her way to Tristan Skragg. Taking the brown envelope from the table in front of him which had been thrown down by Skaro, she gestured simply for him to follow as she turned for the exit of the Chamber. “A word, if I may.”

As Silvier and Tristan left the chamber, the Caesar passed the Ghantish Prince Bebe, who she could tell was clearly disappointed by the result. She paused briefly in her exit to give him comfort, stroking his cheek. “Don’t fret, little one, I promise to not go easy on him. Winning is always the easy part.”

“They’re fools, the lot of them,” Bebe snorted angrily. “He will be the ruin of Gholgoth. Father couldn’t lead sheep to a pasture. War and chaos will consume this region like a brushfire, and when that day comes, he will hide behind the skirts of one of his whores. If we’re lucky, this election will allow mother to carry the office of Executor in his name.”

She listened to the boys wrath, not doing anything to interrupt him before giving him a wicked smile and a gentle kiss on his tomato-coloured cheek. “If only we were that lucky. Fortunately, we have you, but you need to steel yourself and use that anger appropriately. If war and chaos are to come, Ghant and Gholgoth both will need strong leaders.” She winked, before continuing on with the Godsend Emperor.


“...I shall hope then, that my strength and courage will be great enough to lead my country through the dark days to come,” Bebe’s lips quivered as he inclined his head to Silvier, and watched her leave his company, the color receding from his face, though the rage still lingered in his eyes.

***


Upon exiting the room, Tristan turned to Silvier and, while outside prying eyes, hugged her. “I apologize for my behavior. Tynsei’s passing, the attack on the Temple, and all of this has pushed me over my limit. I constantly have three voices talking to me and billions more crying out to me,” He pointed to the cybernetic eye in his left socket. Tristan had lost the original eye during the fight versus Siegfried. “I did not mean to explode as I did. An empire as massive as Dephire was never meant to be ruled by one man. Yet I am always left as the last one standing.” He sighed deeply. “I have no clue what is in that envelope, but with Skaro’s reaction and the three fucks in my head, that envelope contains information. Information that should never be seen by anyone’s eyes but my own. Yet this information found its way here.” He looked down at the envelope, “I am afraid to open it for I fear what information it may contain.”


Silvier was warmed by Tristan’s embrace and smiled. “It’s okay, my friend. You have been presented with many challenges and tragedies as of late, and I have not been as present as I should have been. I truly am sorry about Tynsei, I shall be there to mourn her with you when the time comes. However, I am here now.” She gestured for him to link arms with her as they then proceeded to walk together. Once out of earshot of anyone nearby, she continued, still holding on to the envelope in her fingers. “It concerns me that, despite all the public displays of cooperation, there are many private dealings coming to light that are behind this summit. First it was Atticus and Skaro,” the tone of her voice changed slightly, as if venting some of her frustrations. “And now this.”

Looking down at the envelope, she then moved her fingers towards the seal. “Shall we?”

Tristan nodded and the two opened the envelope like children opening a secret note. He poured over the letters and diagrams, the cybernetic eye recording everything. “Well, these certainly call for a nice chat with my Chancellor. I thought Deconter Industries was bankrupt. Oh well.” Tristan was about to shrug it off until the memory stick caught his eye. “I wonder what this is.”

Silvier pulled a curious face as she placed the small memory stick in the palm of her right gauntlet. “Y’know I’ve never known men to go through this much effort to trade their private stashes with each other.” Cracking a wry smile at Tristan, she then took a few steps out into the joining corridor, and as if by luck there was a Kylarnatian staffer just leaving from the Chamber. They quickly stopped in their tracks when they realised their own Caesar stood before them, immediately dropping to one knee. Placing her free hand gently on their forehead, she noticed the slim pad they carried under their arm. “I’m going to need that.” She gestured for them to hand it over, which they did so gleefully. Waving them away, she then returned to Tristan, loading up the memory stick on the pad.

As one would expect, it was encrypted. “I imagine you’d be able to help with this?” Silvier passed the pad to the Godsend Emperor.

Tristan took the pad and stared at the screen, allowing the AIs to work on decrypting the data. Sadly, the AI were able to break the encryption by simply transmitting the code HalsleyRulez!. The screen flitted to life as several more images and schematics flew across the screen. Several photos showed the battered up Ki’lan left in a Kraven train station. More showed the progress of the man’s limbs replaced piece by piece with machines. In the final photos, a fully rebuilt Ki’lan sat up on an operation table and looked at the scientists in the room. The screens then transitioned into a video feed from his eyes as he began to yell in pain, agony, and confusion, then he proceeded to kill every scientist in the room.

Silvier fast forwarded through several days of feed, then stopped as she recognized him standing in Hab Centre Six. She continued ahead until she saw him fighting Squall. Tristan’s eye began to twitch as Ragnarok was being reminded of the painful fight. He fast forwarded from there up until they both realized where Ki’lan was going next.

“This… This is the night I lost everything.” Tristan paused the feed. “The Temple of the Archangel Scythis was sacked that night. My home destroyed. Wilhelm slain. Tynsei received the wounds that would eventually kill her. I… I can’t.”

Silvier stopped the feed, noticing the pain that it was putting Tristan through. “Now is not the time to watch this. But it seems like the good ol’ Captain has done us a massive favour, even if unknowingly so. This will come in handy when the day inevitably comes that we have to face the Reich again and rally the region to our cause.” Making sure the information was saved and the memory stick was removed safely, she then put it back in the envelope, which she then entrusted back to Tristan. “Come, we should go and see if we can catch him before he leaves, then we’ll want to have a talk with your Chancellor...”

Tristan nodded in agreement, “It’s a good thing his son hasn’t followed too closely in his footsteps. Let’s go have a chat with the Captain.”

***


With Olav in his own tow, Ryslander had risen from his seat to follow Silvier and Julianus closely, but granted the two and Hyperion the opportunity to congratulate Nathan first. As Silvier passed with Tristan, Ryslander nodded with a smile. The two would talk later as she had some other business to attend to then. However, through the crowd gathering around Nathan, the Prince saw a chance to go forward, and so he did. Reaching the Ghantish Emperor with an outstretched hand, Ryslander said, “Congratulations, Your Grace, I hope and believe that you will serve Gholgoth well. I implore you to have confidence in yourself though. Every Goth in the region, if not the world, will be watching you from this moment on. A spurt of weakness from any sort of self-loathing or self-deprecating, even in private, could invite the opportunists to come clawing and ramming at the gates. But you know this, or so I hope, and I pledge that is my nation’s every fiber of will, whim, or even wrath if need be, that stands among the legion behind you now, Executor.”

The Emperor of Ghant sighed, and bowed his head deeply in respect. “Thank you, your Highness. A wise man once told me that there’s a difference between confidence and bravado. I am not lacking in confidence, rest assured. I can already feel the weight of the eyes upon me, and believe me when I say that I will take great cares to make sure that I do not falter in the duties of my office. I appreciate the support of Aldarminia, and though I will not hope for it, should war be upon us, I would be honored to see our nations stand together.”

While Ryslander spoke with Nathan, Olav did his best to stay close to his ward, but he also nodded to Hyperion, trying to gain his attention so that the two may speak. The Dux Imperator acknowledged his nod, and as one of the few individuals who remained in the room he deemed worthy of his respect or time due to their similar roles, decided to speak. “Your thoughts?”

With a finger press to the side of his helmet, pale skin, short locks of brown, and eyes of velvet revealed themselves as poly-glass plating retracted and armor braces unfolded. Glancing towards Ryslander and the Kylarnatian Hæres, Doshsvyn spoke, “I just wanted to offer my apologies again to you, personally, for the trouble with the other children and the acolyte. Aldarminians and Kylarnatians have stood too long together to stand opposed over something so trivial. The subordinate is being discharged from his service in the Guard, and my mentor is probably on his way to scold me personally right now.”

Hyperion, whose expressions were impossible to read due to his helmet - which he never seemed to remove - obscuring his face, seemed unphased by the whole thing. He took one glance over to the young princes, and then to the acolyte, who stood behind him but did not dare to directly meet his gaze. “Your apology is accepted, and the punishment seems fitting. I assure you however that no damage has been done to the relationship between our two nations: it is, as you say, such a trivial thing. In the end everyone involved was doing their duty.”

“Indeed,” agreed Olav, who then extended his armored hand to shake Hyperion’s, “I believe I have forgotten my manners. I know too well who you are, but I think we have never had the formal opportunity. Olav Doshsvyn, Captain of the Blood Guard of the Blood House Aszcheyko, House Imperial of Aldarminia.”

“I know who you are, Olav Doshsvyn. Your name precedes you.” Hyperion clasped his armoured gauntlet with Olav’s and with an iron grip shaked it firmly from the forearm. “Dalikharl has spoken very highly of you to me in private during his meetings with the Caesar, always telling me about how the two of us should meet. Now we find ourselves here, two warriors forced to play politics and admire theatre.”

Doshsvyn’s expression gave way to a humbled smile as Hyperion spoke and shook his hand. He noted the Kylarnatian’s tremendous strength, if even held back, was somewhat daunting as the man’s reputation implied, if not asserted. “I am honored, Dux Imperator, to hear that. You are right as well. I cannot say I enjoy this much, but it is a lot better than a frontline, and it’s certainly more lavish than anything I was raised up on.”

There was a slight chirp in his ear as one of his subordinates updated him on the progress of the jet from Domostrovgor to Citadel City. After confirming his orders and his own itenary, Olav found himself disappointed to say, “I would offer you a drink, comrade, but I am still on duty, and duty calls me now. I will be relieved here by some of my subordinates. I have informed them that they are to be seen only peripherally, and not heard. If any give you trouble, you have my permission to strike them down.”

Doshsvyn nodded as his helmet enclosed his face again, and he gave Hyperion the standard Gothic salute with an emphatic, “Semper certans, Gholgoth,” before leaving the Chamber in the wake of four newly-arrived Blood Guards who positioned themselves not-too-far and not-too-close around Prince Ryslander. Hyperion watched him go and the Blood Guard’s enter, returning to his silent guardian-like nature as he kept a central and stalwart presence in the room. He tightened his grip on Nightbane, almost tempted to take up Olav’s offer should the opportunity present itself, but he knew the Caesar would not approve.

Meanwhile, Julianus had noticed the two guardian’s speaking and - taking his pardon from Sara and the other children of Ghant - went to speak with Ryslander. “Mother was incredibly impressed by how you handled yourself, as was I. I merely spoke out of my own curiosity and eagerness to see if my education was up to snuff, but you spoke on behalf of your entire nation. A very brave thing to do, and I can only hope to do half as well as you did when the responsibility inevitably falls to me.” Julianus thought momentarily of his future, of his coming of age in four years where he would then effectively begin serving as co-regent with his mother, just as she had done with her father when she turned eighteen. It was a tradition that went back millennia.

“Thank you for the kind words, Hæres,” Ryslander replied, “But it was only my duty as Prince. I suppose we should be getting used to these sorts of things. Why wait for the mantle to be given if it lies untaken? And I am sure you will do as I did. In fact I believe you did. Without even duty begging at its knees, you spoke your words, and your skills shone. That’s more than enough to know that when it comes time for you and my brother, Zloba will have a strong ally by his side. But we are at rest, no? Tell me, you’ve your eye on Ghantish girl, yes?”

Julianus gave a wry smile as the conversation turned to Sara, as he took one quick glance at her before returning his eyes to Ryslander. He tightened his grip on the helmet beneath his arm. “I seem to have made a good first impression, and her on me.”

The Aldarminian Prince chuckled, “Mind if I part with the formalities? You can call me Rys, by the way, and I would like to get you a drink, if you do partake that is?”

“I’m afraid I do not, but I’m not far from the legal age back home. Two years and I can have my first beer.” The Haeres chuckled as he allowed Ryslander to go and grab himself a drink and then return.

“So, the Hammer will be mildly annoyed that Sophie was not here to grab your attentions. He’d much rather an Aldar-Kylarnatian union, but I suppose it’s for the best if we can bring the Ghantish closer into the fold. Zloba’s going to be relieved. I believe the kid has a little crush on one of his schoolmates. Our families will have to all come together some time. Maybe we could go skiing or hunting?”

“I see you are a fan of realpolitik, Rys.” Julianus smirked. “I must admit I was not exactly too concerned with geopolitical affairs when I was socialising with Sara, but then I suppose I should’ve been, and I’m sure my mother was. Maybe that’s the curse of our royal births: alas, nothing is set in stone yet, so I’m sure Sophie and I can make introductions during one of those skiing or hunting trips, which I’m almost certain can be arranged.”

As the Lords got up from the table to grab drinks and congratulate Nathan, Atticus took another deep sigh of relief. An aide came over with a glass of whisky which Atticus downed in one gulp.

One more hurdle cleared.
Last edited by Havensky on Thu Jun 28, 2018 6:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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The Kraven Corporation
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Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby The Kraven Corporation » Sat Jun 30, 2018 10:31 am

The White Citadel
Havensky
South Western Gholgoth



It's twin engines made a howling, screaming noise as the two pilots deftly controlled its descent, it had a vicious, angular form that betrayed it instantly as a Kraven VTOL transport craft, slowing its speed with directional jets it manoeuvred itself over a landing pad at the White Citadel, its landing legs unfolding and a series of dark red lights blinking in a steady fashion, with a gentle clunk its wide feet touched the tarmac surface and the engines began to power down a gentle whine continued to sound as the powerful turbines lost their speed and energy, the door was quickly slid open and a ramp lowered onto the ground with another clunk, then the steady, robotic footsteps of several Capitol Police Officers joined the numerous noises, the sudden rush of Havensky men to meet the four Officers, the constant whine of the engines powering down, the wind gently filtering through the cityscape, it all added to the eerie calm of their arrival, their highly polished Jackboots touched the tarmac with a crunch, each of the Officers wearing the traditional jet black uniforms, each with the twin hammer emblem mounted on their hats and the screaming Death Eagle of Kraven on their right hand side of the chest, one wore a long black tench coat and carried a brief case, all of them looked at the approaching Havensky troops, casually holding their weapons by alert and ready at a moments notice...


"We were not made aware of your arrival, a Kraven delegate is already here.." the Corporal quickly shot a look at another soldier and instinctively he made a communication directly to Atticus...

The lead Officer spoke, his voice cold and monotone, to be expected from these machine men "We are aware of Captain Skaro's presence, we are not here for the summit, we require an audience with the Pudite Emperor and the Emperor of The Drakonian Imperium"

"May I enquire as to what it is about?" The Corporal asked with a slightly raised eyebrow

"No" The Officer replied, continuing with a cold stare directly into the Corporals soul "You may not"

taken aback a little by the response the Corporal continued"It may take some time to organise, they are currently in the middle of tense negotiations"

"We will wait." The Officer replied, never once taking his stare away from the Corporal then speaking once more "But it is of Importance and we will not wait all day."

The Corporal was just turning to leave when the Officer spoke once more...

"Alternatively, we can find them ourselves..."
Last edited by The Kraven Corporation on Sat Jun 30, 2018 10:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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The Dragon and the Viper

Postby Drakonian Imperium » Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:21 pm

When the recess began, Augustus Drake had immediately moved to speak with Emperor Dengmu. The two monarchs were quickly deep in discussion. With her father busy, the Drakonian heiress was left on her own. Seeing an opportunity to satisfy her curiosity, Lilliana had made straight for the Lamehken Princess.

"Hello," she greeted smiling, blue-violet eyes open with friendly inquisitiveness. "My name is Lilliana."

Serana, who had been observing Tristan departing the conference chamber again with a small smirk, turned toward the voice. She evaluated the interloper with a cold and penetrating gaze for the briefest moment before silently coming to a decision that the interruption might just be more amusing than irritating. Like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, the harsh expression melted away in an instant to be replaced by a pleasant, charming smile.

"Delighted, little dragon," she replied, recognising the Drakonian, her silver eyes filled with a warmth that belied the ruthless, cutthroat within. "I am Serana."

"How many people have you killed?" The question likely said more about the questioner than the questionee. The young Drakonian helicopter pilot was soon to leave war college and if the recent years were any guide to the future, combat duty was likely. She knew her father had killed while serving as a jet pilot; at the drop of a bomb or the end of a cannon. Soon, that too would be Lilliana’s grave responsibility.

"Well, you are a bold one aren’t you," said Serana, with a soft chuckle. "Quite a lot, I suppose. There were six--no seven, the morning I boarded the plane to come here, but I don’t count my kills, that is a childish thing."

She paused, looking at the Drakonian girl in a slightly quizzical manner. "And why would an innocent thing like you want to know that?" A blink of the eye and curiosity had switched to a devilish, conspiratorial grin. "Is there a warrior behind those adorable puppy eyes?"

Lilliana shifted uncomfortably in her Imperial Army uniform, pinching her lips together as her eyes darted about searching her memory. She was trained to lead soldiers in battle, she was trained as a combat pilot, and she had participated in several wargames. She was a decent shot and quite proficient with a sword. But, there was a difference between practice and application.

Her parents had never used physical punishment on Lilliana when raising her. Violence had seemed something alien to the young princess. Her father had once told Lilliana that "their responsibility was about how and when to use force." At academy, however, there had been an incident when Lilliana had used her physical combat training to stop another girl from harassing a fellow student. When Augustus had taken Lilliana aside after the incident, she could see both pride and sadness on his face. He said: "It is our responsibility to protect those around us, but remember there are always terrible consequences to our actions." She was suspended from the school for a week.

As Lilliana pondered her self-evaluation, Serana thought for a moment that she saw a glimpse of potential in the girl, the hint of a fierce and, perhaps, kindred spirit, but the next moment it was gone.

"I don’t quite know if there is," the young woman admitted.

"No?," asked Serana, more to herself than to Lilliana, her warm smile fading away into an expression of disappointment, even as her interest in the conversation waned with it. "Better figure it out soon then, little dragon. Doubt is weakness."

Lilliana was quiet for a while. Her eyes scanning across the other delegations as she thought. "What is the cost to self," she finally asked. "And what is the price required by shed blood? What is the toll taken upon the conscience and the soul?"

Another chuckle passed Serana’s lips, this one infused with a sharp, mocking edge. "Soul?," she questioned, rhetorically, in annoyance, "Please, little dragon, don't tell me I have mistaken innocence for naivety? It is a word, nothing more. Used by the weak and cowardly to excuse away inaction and fear. Or, by the more enterprising, to exploit and control."

Uncharacteristically, Serana paused and allowed her annoyance to subside, her expression softening slightly. She felt an odd and inexplicable liking for the Drakonian girl, despite the fact she'd proven mostly unremarkable. Maybe, that was why. As a child, Serana could not be afforded the luxury of innocence or naivety. Her father had imparted that lesson on her from the time she could walk and talk, often and in various ways, sometimes painful or brutal, occasionally deadly. The message was always the same though, "Never let your guard down and never permit weakness." Many would have resented that, wished to simply be a normal child, but in Lamehk there were only hunters and prey. She had endured, initially out of stubbornness, a core refusal to beg, cry or submit, but in time as she mastered those lessons a new world opened to her that she quickly came to revel in. Ultimately, she begrudged nothing and liked who it had made her--maybe, too much--as her father's new lessons were trying to teach. So, maybe that wasn't the reason she liked the Drakonian after all. Weakness was just weakness, at the end of the day. Yet, perhaps Lilliana’s ‘soul’ could be saved, she thought, forming a wry smile.

"You should spend less time on philosophy, little dragon," said Serana finally. "Know who you truly are, that is the only understanding that matters. Then, no matter the situation, you will know what to do, or not, when the time comes. And the time will come when you need to kill, so don't hesitate, for that is the only thing that will cost you."

Lilliana thought back to her self-defense training. Her trainers had taught her about how to subdue a threatening opponent. Once, the young girl had come to her parents concerned about how she would know when to use her training. Augustus had responded that "force should be used when you are in fear for your life or if the safety of others is threatened." She had not fully understood what her father had meant at the time, but with armies mustering in Gholgoth the young woman was beginning too.

Lilliana nodded her comprehension. "Violence has its place."

Born into a world where violence was not abhorrent or taboo, but simply life, Serana understood that nothing was more true and had embraced this fact long ago. In her world, which had particularly high standards for violence, she was renowned for being an artist at it. It pleased her that the Drakonian girl seemed open-minded about the subject; that the warrior spirit she'd glimpsed briefly was still within waiting for its moment to burn brightly. And, in that moment she finally grasped why she liked the girl, she had an air of malleability about her.

"Oh, yes it does," replied Serana, excitement obvious in her tone at just the thought, eyes alight with passion for the first time in the conversation. "Always, little dragon, always and often."

__________________

OOC: This post was co-written with Lamehk.

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Emperor Pudu
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Postby Emperor Pudu » Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:43 pm

The chamber cleared of lords slowly; Dengmu didn’t rise, however, once again adopting a quiet, thoughtful posture. Master Chai stood stoically behind him, a constant presence which Dengmu had, since ascending the throne, come to count on. Chai sensed his sovereign’s uncertainty and laid a hand on his shoulder, as only he was permitted by custom to do. Dengmu spoke then, “How many years did you serve my father, Chai?” was the question. The monk, who was fit but certainly not young, replied soberly “Eighteen years, from the time I left the monastery.” Dengmu nodded without looking back, “So you were with him on Caliga, then?” came the next question, “Was it like this?” Master Chai took a moment then before he answered, and did so carefully, “There was more show, but less substance. Less discord, to be sure. These last hours were of a sort your father never saw.” The old monk stopped short of saying anything more, but it seemed to have been enough. Dengmu straightened his shoulders and stood again, now that the room was a bit clearer.

Behind Dengmu sat Ambassador Otho and his staff. As the Emperor hauled himself to his feet Otho sent Captain Pestrukhin off with a hurried wave of his hand toward the barrels of whisky. The soldier returned quickly with a pair of glasses, handing them both to Otho. As Dengmu turned around to face his envoy Otho handed him a glass, “Helluva speech, sir.” The pair shared a private toast then, to Nathan and Gholgoth and to their own fortunes in dealing with both. “So,” Dengmu rejoined, “Have you been able to raise Mr. Lyme?” he asked of his ambassador. Otho replied “We did,” before he turned to Korinna who was at his side, she nodded to confirm, “Yes, we did. The embassy has a line to him, I expect he’ll be on a plane here within the hour.” Korinna reported. Dengmu chuckled, “So I’ll see him in two days.” Otho shrugged at that, “Sure enough. We won’t need him before then in any case, or indeed for some time after I expect. There’s still the war to win before we offer terms.” The two men had by then finished their modest shares of whisky and, casting glances about the room, saw most had already made their way out.

Augustus was satisfied with the way the vote had gone. He had some concerns over Nathan’s approach or he would not have pushed his own candidacy, but the Emperor of Ghant was his next choice and so he was happy with the outcome.

With the business of the vote concluded, Augustus did not hesitate to move to his next concern. As the Lords left the chamber he got up and approached the Pudite Emperor.

“Greetings Emperor,” he said as he approached.

Dengmu tilted his head toward Augustus, “A pleasure. Too bad about the nomination. It would have made things a lot easier for us. For me, at least.” he afforded at the end.

Augustus nodded.

“I’d like to discuss our time table for action,” the Drakonian Monarch asserted, pushing immediately forward to his proposition. “We can ill afford delay with the sinking today. I believe, we must strike as soon as possible against Shen Almaru. No later than a day or two, unless a negotiated withdrawal of Scandin troops seems imminent.”

“I've been assured our assets are in place,” Dengmu replied confidently, “though I don't believe our commanders had quite anticipated moving forward that quickly.” he added, somewhat less confidently. “I will confer with Admiral Khudoi, who is handling the operation. If he agrees that it is possible, then perhaps we can advance the timetable.” Dengmu looked then toward Otho’s military attache Captain Pestrukhin, inquiring silently after this plan. The officer answered with a look as if to say, ‘he won't like that’.

Otho politely bowed out of the conversation then, “Excuse me, my lords.” he offered, backing away. Once removed he turned to find Korinna standing close behind him, “Sir,” she began, “Chu Lin is outside, cameras rolling.” Otho wanted to swear, but instead he braced himself and said only “I’ll need another whisky for this.” He looked sidelong at Captain Pestrukhin again, who dutifully made his way toward the barrels. Korinna called after him, “Make it two!” As the good captain retrieved their drinks Korinna offered her advice to Otho, “We don’t have to give a statement.” Otho perked up at this, but Korinna wasn’t finished, “Of course, we should. They can make worse out of a ‘no comment’ than they can out of any answer you give, so we had better give them at least one question.” Pestrukhin returned then and Otho downed the glass in one swig, Korinna soon did the same. “Give her one question, more like.” Otho observed morosely. Korinna caught his meaning. “Yes, it will be Chu. She’ll have something good up her sleeve, so try and keep it short and to the point, whatever the answer is. No follow ups.” Otho nodded. “Let’s do it.”

Leaving the chamber, Ambassador Otho and his staff were approached almost immediately by a Channel One cameraman. Korinna was in the lead, “Just one question, the Ambassador has a dinner engagement.” she laid out commandingly. Chu Lin, the senior correspondent for Channel One’s Gholgoth desk, stepped forward then, microphone firmly in hand. Any junior reporters in the pool who thought that they might get a chance at that one question were quickly disabused of that notion. She looked right past Korinna and focused her gaze on Otho himself, “Ambassador Otho, what, if anything, has been done today to ensure that the Shen Almaru crisis does not become a footnote in the context of the looming war in Drana?” Otho paused for only a moment to formulate his response, “Well, our Emperor has raised the issue on the floor of chamber of lords and those candidates for Executor were forced to address those concerns. The crisis in Shen Almaru is the crisis in Gholgoth, that was made clear.” Before Otho could carry on from there, Korinna stepped back between the reporter and the ambassador, “Alright, that was one question, save the rest for the Executor.” She began to bundle the ambassador along and away from the hungry press.

Just as they were leaving the garden antechamber beyond the council of lords Otho and his party were approached by a Skyan messenger, who passed a piece of stationary hastily scrawled upon to the ambassador before quickly excusing herself. Otho looked it over once and then twice, turned it over and finally passed it to Korinna with a quizzical look. She inspected it in turn and then returned his gaze. “The Capitol Police?” she asked then, a note of hesitation in her voice. Otho steeled himself then and replied, “Korinna, go and bring Mr. Golub, meet us at the helipad. Captain Pestrukhin, find the Skyan in charge of security up there and give them a slap across the face; then make sure they’re covering our back. Capitol Police, arriving unannounced.” Otho scoffed. Korinna and Pestruckhin left him then, their tasks assigned. Olifer Golub the intelligence analyst was still in the clean room elsewhere in the White Citadel conferring with the Pudite embassy via hardline after the nuclear attack of earlier today; Korinna would retrieve him from there. Pestrukhin, who was Otho’s attache because he, unlike many Citizens, understood in that moment that he had not actually be ordered to slap a Skyan, would be watching the situation unfold alongside whatever White Guard officers were assuredly even now scrambling to respond to the unexpected incursion.

Ambassador Otho himself made his way back through the gamut of press outside the council chamber and inside to find his Emperor, who was still conveniently embroiled in conversation with the Drakonian Praetor. As he approached it became clear to Otho that the two men did not, ultimately, have that much to say to each other, and were on the verge of resorting to awkward small talk. “My lords,” Otho began, “I am sorry to intrude, but there has been an unexpected development.” Otho decided then to launch right into it, some excitement may do these men some good, he thought. He made sure he had the eyes of both Dengmu and Augustus as he delivered the message, “A Kraven Capitol Police delegation has arrived here at the White Citadel,” he pointed up toward the roof at that point, “And they are requesting an audience with the two of you,” he thought he had finished, but then added “That’s all we know.” understanding, as he did, that this was the sort of thing that would generate questions he did not have the answer to.

Augustus looked from Otho to Dengmu restrained curiosity filling his face. Before he could say anything, Gaia Calpurnia, the Drakonian Diplomatic Corps. representative came rushing up to the two Lords.

“Your Majesties,” she started to speak. “There has been--” One look at those assembled silenced any further comment. It was clear they already knew.

“We may require the services of the Marshal,” the Praetor instructed the diplomatic aide. Gaia nodded and set off immediately to get the Imperial Army officer.

Dengmu looked over his shoulder, searching for the towering frame of Caius Cominius Victricius, the Emperor’s most formidable guardsman. The Captain of the Palace Life Guards, outfitted in scarlet and gold power armor at once ornate and grimly functional, made his way to join his sovereign. Otho spoke up then, “I've sent a man ahead to look over the shoulder of the White Guard during the meeting, which we presume will be face to face on the roof of the Citadel. Further staff will meet us there.” Dengmu nodded at the report, then passed his gaze from Otho to Caius to Master Chai and back to Augustus, “Do any among us have any experience with these, Capitol Police?” he uttered their name deliberately, with emphasis.

Augustus frowned, his hand drifting to the sword that hung at his hip, and then nodded his head in the negative. Otho followed suit, though Captain Caius was not so quick as they. “A decade ago, now,” he began, his voice modulated by the speakers in his helmet, “In a place called Grozny. A place that no longer is.” The captain hesitated then, unsure of the level of detail decorum would allow. “We fought together then. The Capitol Police and my own men. I can not claim to know their thinking, but I can trust that they will give it to you straight. There is no subtlety with them.” Seemingly finished, Captain Caius bowed his heavy armored head and stepped back once more.

As if to punctuate the captain’s commentary, Otho clapped his hands together before him, “Well, I must admit. My curiosity has been piqued. Your Majesties, shall we?”

The party made their way then though the White Citadel and to the landing pad the Skyan troops, themselves seeming as curious of the unexpected arrivals as Otho and the others, directed them toward. Miss Calpurnia rejoined the group with the stiff-backed Drakonian Marshal, Ambrosius Brittius, as they neared their destination. Korinna Ariosto and Olifer Golub were found awaiting their arrival alongside some few of The White Guard of the citadel, who were present there in force. They had seemingly taken care to avoid overtly threatening their newest guests by shows of force and instead were keeping their distance.

Colonel Seius and the two Drakonian Praetorian Guardsmen from the Council Chambers had accompanied the two Monarchs and the were joined by three more Guardsmen when the party met up with Skyan Guard. One of three Guardsmen was wearing what looked like a crude bulky approximation of the Skyan Power Armor. Colonel Seius quietly reorganized the Drakonian Praetors protection detail. One of the Council Chamber Guardsmen swapping with his armored comrade. The extra three Guardsmen falling back behind the party.

The wind took on a cold chill as the group ascended the stairs to the landing pad, they were greeted by the sight of a menacing Kraven VTOL, seeing one of these beasts up close was a rarity, any other time it was either shooting at you or deploying Capitol Police, the engines gently whined, still powered up but at idle, in front were four Capitol Police Officers, their uniforms jet black, a stark contrast to the almost surgical whites of the Skyan uniforms, a gust whipped up the bottom of the lead officers trench coat as he stood watching the group approach, his feet slightly apart and a leather briefcase at his side, his stature was imposing and created an equally menacing figure that complemented the VTOL perfectly.

His gaze was never taken away from the group that approached, his dark eyes stared at the group, drilling right into their souls, the other three Officers too stared with cold indifference as the scene unfolded before them.

The lead officer took a step forwards, moving to meet the group in the middle of the pad, he outstretched his right hand giving the group a stiff armed salute while bringing his heels together with a curt click acknowledging respect for the group.

“I am OberSturmFuhrer 18 of the Kraven-SS Diplomatic Korps, Reich-Marshall Dietrich has tasked us with bringing a proposal, The Kraven-SS Intelligence Division is well aware of the build up towards the liberation of Shen Almaru, tactical analysis dictates that your invasion will be met with heavy casualties. The Reich-Marshall, in a sign of future solidarity wishes to assist, We are here to discuss this possibility.” His words were just as cold as the wind, they lacked any form of emotion, monotone but his words carried weight, as would the shock of what he had just said.

“I have in this briefcase documents outlining our proposal, you will look at them and I will give your response to the Reich-Marshall, however, this offer is not indefinite and I will require you to look over the proposals now.”

Augustus raised an eyebrow and looked over to steady-faced Marshal. The man’s face showed no emotion. He stood straight, however, his head leaned ever so slightly forward, and his eyes darted around, eagerly taking in every detail.

“Assistance from the Reich?” Dengmu mused aloud as he waved Mr. Golub forward to collect the briefcase and examine the documents. Golub did so quickly, turning them over in his hands and absorbing all he could before passing the set of plans over to the Drakonian Marshal.

The intelligence analyst then made a brief summation for Ambassador Otho, whose face turned over with intrigue as he heard the outline of the plan. Otho then approached Dengmu, who was doing his best to take a measure of the Capitol Police troopers, with little effect in the way of insight. “They mean to supply us with these,” Otho nodded toward the idling VTOL, “And pilots, and to fly them in the opening assaults on the islands. Golub tells me it looks sound, though I expect we’ll get a real military opinion here in a moment.” Otho glanced back at the Drakonian officer.

Augustus too looked back to Brittius, having overheard the conversation. Brittius nodded ever so slightly. He was silent for a moment, then suggested, “assuming there are assurances against the abduction of participating special forces, this plan does present an extraordinary opportunity.” His eyes looked to both Monarchs and then to the officer of the Reich, who betrayed nothing. “These craft could be used in neutralizing much of the rebel nuclear and chemical arsenal.”

Dengmu nodded approvingly at the Marshall’s suggestion, “Indeed, curtailing their ready access to such arms is among the primary concerns of the war planners. It would take some hundreds of craft, as I understand it, and of course our troops would require some time to familiarize themselves with operations from these vehicles, but it seems this is a unique opportunity. How soon can we expect to see this assistance materialize, should we agree?” he asked of the OberSturmFuhrer.

The answer was one worded, it wasn't meant to shock or impress, it was matter of fact.

“Today.”



OOC: Co-written with The Drakonian Imperium and The Kraven Corporation.

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Kylarnatia
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Founded: Jul 07, 2008
Left-Leaning College State

An Angel, a Templar and a U-Boat Captain walk into a bar...

Postby Kylarnatia » Sun Jul 08, 2018 10:07 am

White Citadel, Citadel City
Havensky


[OOC: Written with contributions from Dephire and The Kraven Corporation.]

The Caesar and the Godsend Emperor had started in the general direction of the exit, assuming that was where Captain Skaro had been heading. They were quickly informed however by a passing Skyan aide that he had in fact stopped off by one of the staff bars for a drink before departure. Going through a set of winding corridors, they eventually found the place. It was cosy enough, themed to feel like one of the popular watering holes of Citadel City so that the staff didn’t feel too disconnected from the rest of the world while cooped up within the White Citadel.

Despite its friendly and warm demeanor however, the whole place had become devoid of nearly all life. Silvier and Tristan had guessed that by the amount of people leaving the place by the time they had arrived, Skaro was the reason why. Standing alone at the bar with a drink in hand he was kept only in the company of the barman, who was doing his best to calmly stare down the Kravenite but upon noticing the entry of not one but two foreign heads of state, clearly began to question in his body language whether he should hang around.

“Leave us.” Silvier spoke kindly but with an authoritative enough tone to suggest that she shouldn’t have to ask twice. The manager immediately opened a hatch in the floor behind the bar and descended into the cellar, sighing as he did so with such routine, as if what was about to happen was an all too common occurrence in his line of work.

Nodding to Tristan, the two then approached the bar and stood either side of the Captain. Taking two glasses and pouring their own drinks of what he was having, there was a moment where the silence was allowed to hang in the room before anyone said anything next.

Skaro saw the two walk in, the large mirror backing the bar gave him a good view of who came in and who left, it was littered with various liquor bottles standing on glass shelves, it fitted the surroundings well and went with the over decor of the bar, still Norska had nothing like this, alcohol had been banned a long time ago, but being overseas on a diplomatic mission had some of its perks and Skaro was more than willing to indulge himself a little.

“So, Silvier, to what do I owe the pleasure? Are you planning on giving me those come to bed eyes again?”

“And, Tristan too, I’m sorry but I don’t go that way, so you’ll have to busy yourself with something for a short while...”

Skaro smirked to himself and took another sip from his glass of fine Sky Marshall Brandy.

Without missing a beat, the Caesar responded, “You’ve been submerged in that U-Boat for too long, Captain. I imagine the suppressed sexual desire must be killing you. Unfortunately, from what I've heard of Kravenite reproductive standards, I think I'll be left sorely disappointed." She then took a sip of her own brandy, savouring the taste.

Tristan nodded to Silvier before taking a large sip, “I am glad you have a sense of humor.” He smiled before finishing the glass and filling it up again. Three bottles of the stuff would get him buzzed thanks to the nanites coursing in his veins. “I am grateful that you handed the envelope over to me. Sadly I was unaware that Adam was in possession of such information. My nation is still reeling from the attack on the Temple. It has opened our eyes to just how vulnerable our defenses were to an inside threat.” He emptied two more glasses, “That was the reason I ordered Dramman to purge my country of anyone with any ties to your nation. I will be in your debt.” Tristan found another bottle and began drinking straight from it, sighed, and solemnly looked at the bar as he took a seat. “You know what was on that disk, don’t you?” He gulped half the bottle, “I thought I had finally found happiness, Skaro. It was yanked away from me. I hope you can accept my gratefulness. These reforms were a good step in the right direction to prove the willingness of the Reich to possibly play nice. Maybe someday we can co-exist without all the unnecessary killing, war, and deceit. Until then, I will owe you a favor.”

Noticing the large quantities of alcohol the Templar was consuming, and the subtle change in the tone of his voice, Silvier moved over and stood behind Tristan, placing a hand on his shoulder. “You’re not like the rest of them, are you Captain? At least I hope not, because if this is the best the Reich’s scientists can come up with then I might actually have to pity them.”

Skaro nodded at Tristan, “If you owe me a favour, I can call it in right now and you can get me another one of these brandies.”

Skaro swung himself onto one of the bar stools, now these two were here, he sensed that it might be some time before they would leave him alone, so sitting seemed to be the preferred option, he looked into the mirror at the rear of the bar and saw his tired face reflected back at him.

“Well, Silvier, I have to say that I’m surprised an Ice Queen such as yourself even has a sense of humour, it’s a pleasant surprise I must say.” He picked up the freshly poured drink and clinked his glass against that of Tristan and then Silvier’s.

“Best of health to you both.” Skaro responded before knocking back the glass of brown-red liquid

“No, I’m not like the others, I’m nothing like them and I get quite offended when I get likened to those machine men, I have fire, I have heart, I have soul, I am the Last Wolf as the Skyans call me, the last of the freemen in Norska. No Reich scientist could have thought up this!” Skaro mockingly slapped his belly with both hands and gave a laugh, then returned to leaning on the bar with both elbows, running his hand through his beard again, no one could be certain if he did this to think or was trying to remove some bearing grease from it.

The Caesar’s shoulders relaxed ever so slightly as the realisation dawned on her that indeed, the man before her - Kravenite though he was - was perhaps more human than she had given him credit. True he could be one of the dreaded Replicants she had read so much about in intelligence reports - and even witnessed during the Milograd War - but no, they did not replicate behaviour like this so convincingly. And genuinely. Indeed, she could not help but let out a hearty laugh of her own. “Well, there’s a popular joke back in my country about what you need to do when you come across a Kravenite with a sense of humour; guess I can talk about the lived experience when I get back.”

There was a brief pause and another sip of the drink. “So...Lone Wolf, why stick around with Fuhrer Robotnik’s pack of perfectly synchronised jackboots on parade?” Silvier paused again, realising the joke may go over the heads of anyone not born in her generation. Or with access to a game’s console. “I can’t imagine they provide much in the way of riveting conversation.”

Tristan was now behind the bar serving Skaro and Silvier their drinks, occasionally taking a shot for himself. “I remember stories of you, Captain. It is an honor and a privilege to be drinking with a man as famous as you. Thank you.” He downed another shot and smiled, “I hope that one day our nations will be allies and your people as free as you, so to speak.” He poured the final shots, “Here’s to our future.” He swallowed the final shot before brushing off his jacket and walking towards the door, “I hope to be in contact with you after this is all over, Captain Skaro. I’m off to the banquet!” He laughed and left Silvier alone with the Wolf.

Skaro nodded to Tristan as he left the room, a sign of his respect which was about as much as he would get from Skaro. Silvier watched him go and couldn’t help but chuckle, as she was happy that he was at least in a somewhat more cheerful mood. The man had been through a lot.

“Why do I stay? Why do I stay with The Reich, because, I have nothing else.” He took on a sombre look, as though he relaxed himself a little and the implacable Skaro was just a man, maybe it was the drink getting to him.

“I don’t tell many people, I told Squall and a couple of the lads on the U-96 know, but that's about it. I was once married and had a lovely son, we were happy together, but she had a falling out with her mother. The Reich was in its infancy, they had only just started to clamp down on everyone and everything, back then we still had a few freedoms...” He paused taking another drink and looked at it for a moment as though he was composing himself.

“The mother--her mother--decided to rat on her to The Secret Police, she was taken away and so was my son. I was at sea on patrol so couldn’t be implicated but they were both executed at one of the many death camps that popped up during the early years, it didn’t work out well for her mother though, she was arrested a couple of days later for guilt by association… stupid cow.” he took another drink and rested both elbows on the bar.

“I don’t blame the Reich for taking my wife and child, they were just doing what they were programmed to do, responding to the input given, reacting to the stimulus, it was her fucking mother I blame, the selfish cow.”

He laughed to himself, finished his drink off and reached over the bar, grabbed the bottle and poured out another glass.

“And now you know why I am the implacable Skaro, the Last Wolf, the last free man in Norska, my destiny is to serve until I take my final dive and the U-96 becomes my iron coffin… So, what about you Silvier, what's your story? are you and Hyperion an item? He seems to follow you around like a lost puppy….” Skaro laughed with a wide grin then rubbed his hand through his beard something he seemed to do often, it either irritated him or he used it to consolidate his thoughts.

Silvier had listened intently to the Captain as he told his story and, admittedly, she did feel a little bit of sorrow for his story. The Reich had taken his loved ones from him, and she knew that pain. Laughing at first in response to his joke, she responded. “Ah, Hyperion is just a very loyal warrior. The two of you would get along if you took the time to speak to one another: he’s a bit of a hard-ass, but he knows when a person is deserving of his respect.”

The Caesar then looked down into her own drink silently for a moment. “My story? Well, honestly, I was a young girl forced into a situation that she didn’t expect to find herself in so soon. Of course I was prepared from an educational perspective, but emotionally? How do you deal with losing both your father and your lover on the same day?” She looked to Skaro, the sadness reflecting in her eyes just slightly.

“They both gave their lives fighting the Reich in the First Milograd War: My father sustained injuries from a Kravenite dreadnaught blindsiding his flagship during the blockade of Fortress Norska. My lover was with him - he was a member of his Guard - and tried to take the brunt of the blast. That killed him outright, but it didn’t stop my father dying from his injuries when he was evacuated…”

A brief silence hung across the room, before Silvier took a stiff shot of her drink. “The Reich has taken something from the both of us, Captain. You and I may be enemies again one day, and on that day I promise I will seek revenge for the both of us.” She clinked her glass with his, before finishing the rest of her drink.

“It’d be good of you to accompany me back to the feast that is being arranged by the Skyans. I must admit, I wasn’t best pleased when I heard that they had made a deal with you and the Reich…”

“I am sorry for the loss of your Father and your Lover. War is a harsh mistress the best of times, but the hunt is what keeps me alive and unfortunately the hunt and war go hand in hand.” He finished off his drink and stood up.

“Yeah, actually that is a good idea, I could do with soaking up some of this Sky Marshall Brandy, Shall we?” Skaro mockingly offered Silvier his arm and gestured to the door, “If anything, it’ll give Hyperion a heart attack…” Skaro grinned and laughed as though he was actually enjoying himself, something he hadn’t felt for a long time.

“The deal, was meant to convince the Skyans that we were sincere with our proposals for the reforms, I believe that Dietrich wants to see change, but I’m not sure if I’m a hopeful fool or a blind idiot, either way, Jagada is going to get around 47,000 of their people back, I can’t remember the exact number, it might be more or it might be less, but Fortress Cydonia is the Jagite homelands, the Reich waged a war of extermination against them, the Jagites that escaped thought that all of their kin were wiped out, but in the words of the Kraven-SS they are like vermin, breeding like rats and some of them managed to survive despite the hardships of Cydonia… that's the deal: we hand over the last of the trueblood Jagites, the Skyans push through the reforms…”

“I see.” Silvier processed the information quietly to herself for a moment. She would be sure to speak of this to Atticus when the two eventually had their meeting. Snapping back to reality, she pulled a charming smile to the Captain and chuckled as she took the Captain’s arm, using her other free hand to bring the rest of the Sky Marshall Brandy. “Well then, shall we?”

As the two made for the door, the barman returned from the cellar. Seeing him emerge, and looking over all the alcohol both Tristan and Skaro had consumed. Indeed, of all the alcohol consumed she had only had one glass, but then that was very deliberate. Silvier gestured for Skaro to pause while she returned to the bar. Taking a napkin and a pen, she then signed it before then kissing it, the lipstick leaving a clear mark. “That should pay for the drinks, and then some.” She then stuffed the the napkin in the stunned barman’s chest pocket before returning to Skaro and, linking arms again, departed with him for the swearing-in ceremony and feast.

She had learnt both what she needed and had somehow, made friends with someone who just a few moments ago was a sworn enemy. Definitely not what she had anticipated from walking into a bar with a Briskan Templar and a Kravenite U-Boat Captain.




Eventually the two caught up with Tristan as they made it back in the general area of the Council Chambers, where preparations were being made for the swearing-in ceremony. Silvier and Skaro had been sure to unlink arms before making it back so as to not get spotted by any prying eyes. Turning to the Captain, Silvier passed him the bottle of brandy. “Well Captain, until the feast. Thank you for your--”

Before she could even finish her sentence, the imposing shadow of Lord Hyperion was cast over the both of them, standing directly behind Skaro and glaring directly down at him, a burning flare in his helmets eyes and the grip on his great axe Nightbane evidently quite firm, as if ready for a swing. Silvier quickly stood between the two of them.

“Hyperion, you know the Captain.” Hyperion said nothing, his eyes not moving off the Captain. Skaro looked back at him and grinned, slapping the giant’s chestplate before giving a short nod to Silvier and departing, Hyperion not breaking eye contact with him until he was gone.

“Well, that was a very smooth first introduction. You’re improving.” Silvier jested. The Lord looked back at her and was not as amused.

“There better have been a good reason why you were playing nice with him...my Caesar.” Hyperion was angry, but he knew his place.

“Oh come now, Hyperion, the two of you would get along quite well, I’m sure of it.” She took his free hand and looked up at him with a glint in her eye, mimicking the look she used to give him when she was a much younger princess. Relaxing slightly, the Lord walked with her back towards their delegation.

“What did you learn?”

“Enough, my dear Dux Imperator.” Silvier mused, her thoughts becoming more serious again as she thought back to the Jagites, the anger she had felt before when learning of the deal returning slightly. “I’ve learnt enough.”
Last edited by Kylarnatia on Sun Jul 08, 2018 10:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
The Ancient Empire of Kylarnatia // Imperium Antiquum Kylarnatiae
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Aldarminia
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Posts: 1591
Founded: Mar 15, 2010
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Aldarminia » Mon Jul 09, 2018 12:50 am

Several hours ago
West of Gholgoth
Krajrodina Domostrovgor Zhizhnytsentr
Strovarya Domen, Sredniygora Stranyoblast
Jarnbyrg


"Could you roll the window down, please, Pyotr?"

The driver of the armored stretch-limousine obliged the Stratonizhtszar's request with a contented smile. The smile was short-lived as Pyotr's nose inhaled the malodorous particles of the under-city drifted from outside. Pyotr grimaced and glanced over his shoulder and the gaudily velvet leather seats to ask Venkhzmr silently, Can I roll up the partition?

Venkhzmr chuckled and nodded as he lit his cigarette and thought, A man raised in the stables still is not used to the smell of the under-city. Classic.

As the partition raised and as he opened his armrest's ashtray with the press of a button, Venkhzmr looked to see what his fellow passengers thought of the fresh, city air. The Imperial Councillor on Trade and Commerce, Khozyastnizhtszar, Svetlana Trakovsky's face was one of ample disgust twisted into a frown that, to Venkhzmr, blemished an otherwise beautiful visage that had mastered the iniquities of age. Her Secretary-General, though, Gennady Zakharov seemed aloof of the sounds and the smells of the resurgent industrial city of Jarnbyrg. Both courteous and curious, Venkhzmr said, "If it would please you, Svetlana, I will put the cigarette out? Also, Gennady, if you could give me the pleasure of reminding me where you are from, it would be very much appreciated. You seem unaffected by the sensory charms of my home-town."

Svetlana smiled and shook her head from her seat next to the Stratonizhtszar. Gennady looked up from his tablet to answer with a face cold from rearing out of some process of analysis to answer, "Your Excellency, if I am being honest, I'm probably just busy looking over the reports from Strovarya Arms' liaison office, but I am probably just used to it all. I'm from the nizkygorod of Oksanopyl."

Venkhzmr chuckled and nudged Svetlana with his left elbow, "So it seems you are completely surrounded by the grodniki, Khozyastnizhtszar! Sure you're not scared we're going to steal those pretty pearls around your neck?"

Svetlana rolled her eyes and then shot a glare at Gennady to stop him from giggling. She turned away from her pensive observation of the passing-by cityscape to say, "If I was scared of either of the likes of you, I probably would not have made it to where I am today."

"As feisty as always, Mrs. Trakovsky," commented Venkhzmr and then beaming as he tilted his head to Gennady to suggest, "Best be careful around this one. A young, handsome man like you could become easy prey for for such an ill-tempered lynx."

The secretary was too enthralled by the manufacturing reports to even register the comment. Giggling through the woman's elbow jabbed into his side, though, the Stratonizhtszar looked outward into Jarnbyrg. As he savored puffs of smoke from his cigarette, Venkhzmr was entertained by the cacophony of industry and slices of life he could sight throughout the city. Traffic, despite his suggestion to go through the less-automobile-populated under-city, was heavier than expected. The Stratonizhtszar was pleased either way.

Venkhzmr faced little difficulty in his endeavor to spy out the tell-tale signs of home from inside the limousine. As he finished his cigarette, he could see in the distance between the apartment blocks the plumes of industry rising some otherwise indiscernible complex of smokestacks to darken the skies. Amidst the hums and drones of nearby factories, a second-march of grodnik and musician teenagers made their way to some underground club that was probably preparing for a local performer's event. Behind them, a smaller group of young men also seemed to be heading to the same place. One of the tracksuit-ed gentlemen carried a large, retro-style, pill-shaped boombox over his head. He had politely turned the device off so his group's music would not be discordant to the band's ahead. Krug sessiy, circles of people standing around drinking and smoking, some even performing rites, permeated nearly every corner and alleyway. From windows and stoops, local rodbratva vory eyed their neighborhoods for potential targets, outsiders, and fellow thieves-in-law.

The din of life and labor carried on as Venkhzmr extinguished the embers of his cigarette. Tapping on the partition to let Pyotr know that the window could be rolled up, the Stratonizhtszar noticed what he believed to be a new strand of gray in his hair in the reflection in the glass. The limousine suddenly lurched to a halt, and almost immediately, the partition was rolling down with Pyotr looking over his shoulder to inform his passengers. "The APC driver ahead says there's someone broken down a few cars in front of him, and the traffic trying to go around it is just causing a mess. He's sending a couple of the men to see if they can clear it up."

Venkhzmr nodded appreciatively before he turned to look out the window and saw the devil's work of urban traffic. "Pyotr were in an intersection, are we not? Can't you back up?"

Keeping his eyes ahead, wanting to score an opportunity to move forward, Pyotr disappointed Venkhzmr, "No, sir, if you look behind us, the rear security vehicle is right behind us, and the rest of the traffic's all jammed up as well. We're stuck where we are 'til those couple of guys--"

Simultaneously, Svetlana screamed, and Gennady's face contorted into horror. Milliseconds after, for Venkhzmr, there was only empty black.





Two hours after Katz's arrest
Somewhere in Domostrovgor

Finally, white. White, flickering light as bright as the sun until his eyes adjusted greeted Maynard back into the world from the darkness of the bag over his head. He had no idea how long they had kept him inside what seemed at first to be a coffin. He was sure that he had been placed on a plane at one point, and Maynard could guess that he was no longer anywhere near Anhavirnjogr. No one had spoken to him, nor he to them. All that guided him inside and outside of the coffin was the press of a rifle or pistol barrel in the small of his back. What concerned him most was that there seemed to be no effort to sedate him.

Maynard's eyes finally adjusted, so he could stop squinting. On the other side of a steel table in a sterile-white room, a man dressed in an immaculate white tuxedo with a maroon bow-tie sat in a steel chair reading from a white folder. On the table, a briefcase of a disorienting darkness was placed as close to the center of the table's surface as possible. Maynard did not see a door, so he assumed that it was behind him. Mere moments after he made that realization a pair of black gloved hands pressed down on his shoulders, and thus he was seated in a cold chair as metallic as the table. Maynard tried to turn his head, and he barely glimpsed the man's eyes through the holes in the balaclava before a fist corrected Maynard's facing.

As Maynard's face throbbed and voice groaned in pain, the man sitting across from him press a loose bang back into the slicked-back formation of his deep red-brown--almost as maroon as his bow-tie--hair. His right hand came down from the top of his head to rub a dark stubble along his jaw line before it suddenly pointed toward Maynard. With a thick, unfamiliar accent that seemed to all-at-once lilt like the sea and curl like hurricane clouds and surge like floodwaters, the man said in the common tongue, "You know, you really shouldn't try looking at 'em unless they're looking at you. They're sensitive about that kind of thing, these gentlemen."

His arms opened wide, and both hands snapped their fingers. On this cue, the corners of the wall behind the man turned as revolving doors, revealing two men dressed in all-black and wearing rib-knit three hole balaclavas just like the one who had punched Maynard. The man dressed as if he was going to a wedding asked, "I'm just being plain rude, aren't I?"

Maynard's eye twitched in either lingered agony or disturbed confusion at the question as the man's deep brown eyes stared into his. Realizing then that the man was not Aldarminian by birth, Maynard hoped desperately, Maybe I can go home.

"Listen, Mister Katz," he said almost jovially, "I don't actually want to hurt you, and in all reality, I've got no love for this little empire. I come from a very ancient city that has routinely been the target of some manner of Aldarminia-borne attempt to 'pacify' it."

Maynard breathed a massive sigh of relief as the man smiled. Then, the man's head started shaking, and his leg began bouncing up and down in some sort of a frenzy. The ends of his lips' smile curled a bit too far for comfort. Finally, a laugh shuddered Maynard's bones. The outburst eventually subsided from cackle to a breath-catching sigh as the flush of red on his face faded away. As Maynard's spirits plummeted, the man explained to him what the expat had already figured, "Somewhat sorry about that. I have a bad taste in humor, but anyways, still being rude and all, I'm from a place called Shalmet. Thus everyone refers to me as 'the Shalmatian.' However, you can call me 'Sir,' okay?"

Eyes watering, Maynard nodded. The Shalmatian continued, "So, unfortunately for you, most of what I told you a second ago was a bit of a fib. A morbid practical joke, really, but a lie nonetheless. I adore the empire, but mostly because it pays me well, and unlike far too many other, so-called 'advanced' or 'developed' nations, Aldarminia is pretty liberal with its drugs. Makes my job easier if I can just push all the bad things I do into a dark, secluded, and hazy corner of my mind, do you understand?"

Another nod and a tear rolled down the Pudite's cheek. "Now, now, Mister Katz, has a cat got your tongue, and this is why you cry?"

The laugh this time came off excessively facetious, but Maynard resolved himself then to put up a stronger exterior. Wiping a tear away, the Pudite prisoner shook his head. The Shalmatian's expression turned to one of a sour disposition. Pulling a cigarette from a steel container from his coat pocket, the Shalmatian politely inquired with a raised eyebrow, "Do you smoke?"

Downcast eyes and a head cocked to the side told the interrogator "No," but he offered anyway, "Surprising, to say the least, but would you like to, Mister Katz? You know, considering your situation as it stands in your mind, you might want to see what you've been missing."

Maynard's eyes returned to gaze at the Shalmatian, and a weak shrug indicated that the Pudite was not going to refuse the offering. So, the Shalmatian opened the briefcase deftly and revealed an ashtray and an unopened pack of cigarettes. Maynard reared his head back in confusion as his interrogator pulled a lighter from a pants pocket. Seeing this and surmising why his prisoner was perturbed, the Shalmatian noted, "You didn't think that I was going to bum you one of mine, did you? That's just silly. Consider this pack of joes as a parting gift from the Empire to you."

After saying as much and packing the tobacco with some haste, the Shalmatian handed Maynard a cigarette, lit his own, then handed the lighter to his prisoner, waited for Maynard to light, and watched as Maynard coughed off of his first few inhalations. He moved the now-closed briefcase aside to place the pack, lighter, and ashtray equidistantly from him and the Pudite. After a few drags from his own cigarette, the Shalmatian said, "So where was I," rubbing his stubble, "Ah, yes! I also don't want to hurt you, per se, but I do want to hurt someone. You see, my night is being a bit held up by some fickle dynamics of the geopolitical realities of the times we live in."

The Shalmatian ashed his cigarette and took a couple more drags before further elaborating, "There, outside," gesturing with a thumb pointed to behind to the wall, "Is a very beautiful and very morally-flexible, half-Kylarnatian woman whose acquaintance I have been waiting to enjoy for a whole evening for quite some time now, and she is currently being guarded by some rather competitively-burly men to my admitted insecurity, yet due to a certain--albeit arbitrary--degree of plausible deniability the Cosmocratium and His Imperial Majesty desire, I must be the one to handle you. They can't be flustering their new allies in the Skyan Republic a bit too much about human and civil rights, now, can they?"

Wiping a tear from his eye before it could fall from its lid, Maynard shook his head to the Shalmatian's expressed displeasure. "Come now, Mister Katz! I just said I had much other important matters to attend to tonight, and here you are forcing me to effectively speak to a brick wall. Now answer, verbally, the question I just asked. To make things easier for you, I'll remind you with some additional clarity. The Grand Imperial Cosmocratium of Aldarminia, in times of imminent war and ambitious expansionism, cannot be disturbing the peace that lies between itself and the Skyan Republic to the south in Gholgoth, and the Aldarminian Empire certainly cannot be producing distrust between itself and its supposed ally, the rightful government of the Pudite Empire, by harming, directly, a former citizen of said Empire, whether or not said citizen may have engaged criminally with a rebellious entity or person. Are these statements correct, Mister Katz?"

"I suppose they are, Sir," replied Maynard meekly.

"Amazing! He speaks!," chuckled the Shalmatian through a cloud of smoke precipitating from a half-inhaled drag. Maynard put his out before asking, "Sir, what is going to happen to me?"

Frowning, the interrogator first offered silently with a hand another cigarette from the pack on the table, but the Pudite refused. The Shalmatian shrugged, extinguished the cherry of his own into the ashtray, and then batted away the lingering smoke trails. "I suppose myself now is time to stop beating around bush. So, I'm going to make myself very, very, very, exceedingly clear to you, Mister Katz. As a matter of facts giving rise to your current predicament, there has already been convened, and concluded, an Imperial Secret Court trial for you. A Mister Lanskon argued valiantly in your favor, but unfortunately, it seems someone wants to make an example of you. A 'throwing of the book,' if you will. You've been found guilty of some charge that will probably get edited to better fit my report."

Maynard tried to protest but the Shalmatian commanded his silence almost as soon as the Pudite's lips parted to speak, "Quiet now, Mister Katz. Well, actually, I suppose we could be done with some parts of formality. So, as I was saying, you will never see the light of day again, Maynard. In fact, you will never see the night sky, starred or smogged, again. You will never see your friends or family again. As of now, you only have two options to choose from for the rest of your life. Trust me, if you can, that in all of reality that there is really only one sensible decision. In a way, we have taken off the extraneous, intermediary burdens of your existence. You get to skip to the end, Maynard, and choose how you want to go with highest degree of certainty. Peacefully or painfully. Follow my instruction, with total honesty, and you will go peacefully. Choose not to do so, though, and I will not hesitate to suspend your death sentence until I am satisfied that you have experienced every excruciation of pain imaginable. How clear am I making myself, Maynard? I really hope my accent and at-times-broken Common isn't too bothersome to your means of comprehension?"

There was nothing stopping the tears now, but Maynard wanted to be a man in the face of death, so he mostly refrained from erupting into a pitiful sob before he confirmed, "Very clear, Sir. V-very clear, Sir."

The Shalmatian's visage was all solemn now, a warm grey hue seemingly washing over his sun-tanned complexion even under the fluorescent lights. The interrogator nodded in a sidelong glance into empty space as he at-first mumbled, "Good," and then more clearly, "Good."

Eyes returned to fix themselves on the Pudite's person as the Shalmatian instructed, "Listen, Maynard, what I need and what you want to do is to give me your life-story. The whole spiel, so to speak. Down to the last drops of essence that make you. Alright, you poor son of a suka-loving ublyudok? Do that now, please, but know, though, that although I am obliged elsewhere, just give me all you've got to tell. I won't mind, but also don't leave anything out that you feel may be important to me and my employers. Speak, Maynard, or forever hold your peace and die in pain."

Maynard chose the better of the two, and did as he was told. He recounted the whole tale of his life. His birth in Shen Almaru. How his family raised him to be a good child of humility while they were making a small fortune for themselves, shaking off the shackles of poverty both his parents had known all-too-well in their own childhoods. He remarked upon how he had several stages of awkwardness growing up in school, but nothing more than normal. He recalled his life's favorites over the years. Eventually confessed that he did used to smoke in school, but quit so long ago that his lungs might have been completely clean of the carcinogenic tar and breath-quaking scars. Talked about his old high school crushes, and how he only ever really had a couple of girlfriends--and one stalker--until he was out of college. How he met the love of his life shortly after getting his first real job, and about the tragedy of the cancer and compromised immune system that took her from him before he ever got the chance to propose. About how he left the homeland after that fearing both the ground she used to walk and the persecution of the loyalists that seemed to rise with every passing day. About how he came to Aldarminia seeking a new and improved life.

Maynard must have talked, back-tracked, and half-accidentally retold for at least an hour, only sparingly catching his breath, but through it all, the Shalmatian seemed genuinely fascinated and never once even hinted physically or verbally an inclination to interrupt. Finally when the Pudite's tale was done, his interrogator stood with a frown, and Maynard thought he could spy the man's own eyes starting to water. The Shalmatian picked up the pack of cigarettes from the table and silently read the branding, Marlsich Specials: Mellowgold. He then displayed the front-face of the pack to Maynard, saying, "You know, I used to steal these from my parents all the time. And whenever my friends and I started smoking or whenever someone who hadn't smoked them before bummed one from me, many, many people said that they tasted like cardboard."

He set the pack down after taking one of its contents and lighting it. Continuing, the Shalmatian said, "I always told those people that if you kept smoking them, this particular kind," gesturing to the pack as he dragged, "Of talking stick, that eventually, they'd get used to them and grow quite fond of them, especially if they did so while drinking. And well, Maynard, I thought you were a bit of a cardboard box, but as ever and always, I am surprised to re-learn that there is no such thing like that among the many peoples. You see, I've grown, in such a short time, quite used to you, Mister Katz, which is why I'm very sad to know that you were, just now, very lacking with regards to the details I really needed to be given. But all the ones you subconsciously surmised I would want to hear were, of course, quite sufficiently provided. That's very unfortunate, Mister Katz, because now I have to use means I no longer at-all wish to. To summarize, Mister Katz, you've made my job very difficult. For but a moment. But being a boss of men, I can simply delegate some matters, however, I must honor, to at least a minimal degree, the words I have spoken to you."

At this, the Shalmatian lunged upon Maynard. After grasping a bunch of hair on the Pudite's head, the Shalmatian jammed his cigarette's cherry into Maynard's left eye. Maynard tried to fight it of course, but the man behind him who had punched earlier now used those devastating arms to restrain the prisoner's resistance. All he could do was writhe, scream, and cry. After it seemed the embers were burnt out into the Pudite's cornea, the Shalmatian pulled away from him, and the man-in-black behind the prisoner released his grip for a moment. The other two men in the room were opening and turning the briefcase so that its primary contents could be seen hazily through Maynard's one good eye. There were nothing but intentionally-dirtied surgical tools inside along with a blindfold. As the Pudite clasped his face in agony and tried to squirm out of his chair and crawl under the table, the man that had been behind him slammed a boot into one of his ankles before pulling the Pudite back into the chair. The same man then stuck a syringe with a long and thick needle into Maynard's shoulder. The other two were simultaneously walking through around the room revolving the corners and the walls to reveal some form of acoustic shaping on their now-interior sides.

Only one last corner remained unturned when the Shalmatian explained as Maynard quickly felt himself unable to move, "I guess I should detail to you what's about to happen. Frankly, I like you just well enough to not want to do so, and I am just not in the mood to ruin a good tuxedo with another man's blood, so I'm going to let my boys handle you. Don't get the wrong idea though. This is not really a favor, or rather, beneficial to you. It's a matter of convenience really, and I must warn you that these men do not hold back with as much mercy as I do. I can't remember precisely the chemistry's nomenclature, but what you were just injected with is essentially a specially-designed paralytic.It won't shut down the actual nocioceptors that alert your brain to painful experiences, but it will however make it extremely difficult if not impossible for you to move by practically locking up the majority of your muscles."

The Shalmatian paused to look at the two men-in-black that had once been behind him. After a nod to them, they began taking certain tools out of the briefcase and setting them on the table. "My boys are going to periodically place and take-off a blindfold so you can have the displeasure of not knowing when the next strike is coming while also being able to see in certain intervals exactly how much blood you're spilling all over these clean floors. See, they're going to pinch, poke, prod, pierce, penetrate, punch, and kick you in ways you never have been before all the while the majority of your senses are going to be deprived per the blindfold, paralysis, and the fact this room is a very close approximation of what is used to train cosmonauts for the silence of the heavens. I'll be returning shortly, Mister Katz, and I sure do hope you've changed your mind about protecting your friend, Mister Shun An, when I do, or else I might have to take you on a detour from this facility. You won't want that."

The blindfold was going over both Maynard's eyes as he was getting gut-punched when the Shalmatian was turning the last corner of the "quiet room" as he left. The Shalmatian began walking towards the primary exit when a plump, young woman of Aladamian heritage hurried across from the other end of the corridor where a secondary entrance-exit was and called after him, "Sir! Sir!"

Turning the man asked in the girl's native dialect which he guessed from her accent, "What is it, m'lady?"

She handed him a flat-tablet and said worriedly-so, "Sir, we just completed triple--no, quadruple checking our analysis of all of Maynard Katz's electronics, metadata, traffic, commun--Sir, Katz could not have had anything to do with the detonation or the message to the embassy. It seems that the last time he and Shun An spoke was several weeks ago before Shun began his most recent cyber-warfare campaign. Apparently the two's falling-out was taken a bit more harshly by An than by Maynard, because Shun decided to use Katz's phone and laptop as a sort of zombie, or proxy. Katz wouldn't have been able to notice anything except for maybe a minor degradation in performance as An was trafficking his malware and so forth under the cover of bloatware originating from a game application the two used to play together quite frequently."

The command liaison paused to catch her breath, but quickly returned to the matter at hand, "Katz's connection to the Pudite embassy's wifi as he made his on-foot commute from his workplace by the embassy offered Shun the chance to send the message. Shun would have known this favored routine of Katz per numerous conversations we gathered from Katz's phone after they were decrypted. Sir, unless he somehow defied the odds and managed to pick up and use a burner under our surveillance, Maynard Katz is innocent of all charges of criminal actions we could ever conceive of attributing to him."

The Shalmatian threw the tablet against the wall, shattering its glass screen into several shards. The woman jumped back in fear, and even the the man's face contorted into shock as he realized he had let anger get the best of him. He pinched the bridge of his nose and squinted his downcast eyes in a stressful musing. He looked back up to face the command liaison for the cyber-warfare and surveillance analysis staff and said, "I'm really sorry, m'lady. Tonight's just not going my way as of right now. Unfortunately, it's far too late for Mayn--Mister Katz. What I need you to do is go into the quiet room, and tell my men to stop whatever it is that they are not doing. Understand? And please do inform that it is mine and the Bureau's order to have Mister Katz brought downstairs to a cell where he will be provided a proper and decent last meal before he is to be disposed. Understood?"

The woman wanted to protest--make a statement regarding that she was not cleared to enter the quiet room--but she figured that it would be best not to provoke the renown man's anger again. She saluted the Shalmatian, and the two promptly set about their different paths through the corridor. The Shalmatian ignored all appeals for his audience as he made his way through the various stairwells, elevators, tunnels, hallways, and office sections of the facility and its many subterranean levels before he finally arrived at the ground floor. He repeated his orders to the young woman to his second-in-command that waited for him sitting in the processing and holding lobby. The Shalmatian also informed the two-i-c that he was not to be disturbed for any business matters for the rest of the night. Under the watch of armed guards posted at walls and corners and beside him and cameras nearly every other half-meter, the Shalmatian exited the Civil Intelligence and Security Bureau black-site and entered his limousine to the immediate, exuberant pleasure of the woman inside.

"Smikeyboo! Oh, by the Grand Mother, we're so late for the party! What took you so long?!"

"Apologies, mon chéri, but duty and work have been fussy tonight," he explained as he sat down and his chauffeur shut the door. After waving his hand to the chauffeur upon his return to the driver's seat, the Shalmatian and his escort were quickly on their way to a party and far away from the black site.

The two embraced each other, by lips and by arms, until the Shalmatian pulled away to inquire, "Consentia, are you a fan of the macabre?"

Puzzled, the escort looked up into the black interior overhead of the limo before answering, "I do think I get excited by the topic of death. At least a little bit. I assume that's what you're really asking me."

Slapping his knee, the Shalmatian confirmed with a twisted smile, "That it is indeed. As perceptive as always! Well, now that I know it might be to your fancy. Let me tell you all the things I would like to do to a particular man I want to kill right now..."





Xituvar
Krajrodina Vernulsya Starshrasshyrat
Lesatmy Domen, Kassakkæzhstan Stranyoblast
West of the Igorsik ZRSK


There was only one thing that could draw Dalikharl away from a meeting of Gothic Lords. That was the din of combat in his own empire that still occasionally pervaded some obscure stretch of territory within it. Unfortunately for the Dreads that had decided to invoke the Hammer's ire, the obscurity of Igorsik ended the moment it became an agricultural development zone. A place to become a new weave in the endeavored-for new breadbasket of the Cosmocratium. Being a latent copy-cell with little to no contact with any major hosts, the particular strain of Myrizstrakha that had decided to use their stolen tanks and APCs to harass local villages and townships around the ZRSK were grossly incompetent compared to their predecessors, and thus they failed to perform the reconnaissance that would have told them that a larger-than-normal quantity of Imperial troops were supplementing the Jarl Defense Corps. Thus was spelled the doom of the late-appearing Dread emergence in Lesatmy.

The Grand Emperor, as he had ever since he had declared the War of Reclamation strategically over, took it upon himself to head to the front of the fray as rapidly as possible. So he had spent the month or so before the Anhavirnjogr Summit and the seemingly eternal hours after it gradually hunting down the Lesatmy Cult.

First, several companies of Imperial Army infantry were dispatched to the forests surrounding Igorsik to flush the Dreads out. Next, Vanguard special operations units were tasked with finding and capturing the pair of Draugai leading the cult, and when they did, the whole host erupted into a frenzied spree of assaults upon the defensive perimeter of western Igorsik. Then, eventually, they were repelled back into the forests and finally out from there into the grassy hills. What remained of the Cult was being chased through these hills to their sole remaining defensive position just north of Dalikharl and his squadron of "ceremonial" Nakils and several platoons of Imperial Army soldiers. There, and finally-so, the Dreads planned to make their last stand in the ruins of a medieval fortress once used by some Aladamian lord to police the kassak horde that had settled within the wooden fortifications that had now evolved into the modern Igorsik township.

Shell-wrecked hulks of metal, their camouflage paints thoroughly blackened by fires, were scattered between the low-rolling hills of the edge of the steppe as the battle raged to its end. From atop lower-lying hills south of the ruins hill, the fifty-eight Nakils that made up the Hammer's Armored Honor Battalion of the Blood Guard, arrayed into a four-part semicircular formation, demolished what remained of already-crumbling parapets and ramparts. Below the tanks' positions, across the knolls and all-around the ruins, platoon after platoon after platoon of Imperial Army soldiers, loaned with KHODOK Oa.III Birzirkr power armor from the Vanguard's armories, were storming forward to their final positions at the foot of the fortified hill, trying to defilade themselves as much as possible with the carcasses of fallen Dreads or the destroyed Wolfhound tanks that had been stolen by the Myrizstrakha host. For just a few minutes, the sounds of firefights had begun to die-down and the streaks of tracer rounds had begun to dim--both eventually completely dulling to an ominous tranquility.

From his vantage point atop the turret of a headquarters Nakil among the easternmost quarter of the armored formation, the Hammer watched through binoculars as his foes made their preparations for whatever they believed was about to come. Dreads here and there between rubble and debris crawled, stood, knelt, ran, and rolled into all manners and modes of firing positions. Dalikharl lowered the view to his own troops directly ahead of the nearest western quarter of the tank positions. In an instant, the whizzing of a piss-poor-sniper's bullet sounded very close to the Grand Emperor, and in milliseconds afterwards, the whizzing was followed by a sharp collision and reverberate ring of that bullet's ricochet off of the armor of the tank's turret. Near-simultaneously, as that ricochet grazed a neat cut into Dalikharl's cheek, a large, power-armored hand grasped the collar of his civil-war-ragged, black trench-coat, pulling him off of the turret.

Reorienting himself into a kneeling position after being dragged to the ground, the Hammer looked up to see who had put him there. Towering over the Grand Emperor although on his knees was the helmet-less-but-power-armored Gunnsvyg Sigrskvor, his Obirstnik Blood--and body--Guard. Sigrskvor's eyes bled solemnity into the air between the two men. Overhead, someone had spotted the sniper for the tank crew which was then giving retaliatory hell in vengeance for the assault upon His Imperial Majesty. Next to Sigrskvor was a radio officer who looked just as emotionally downtrodden. Dalikharl touched his cheek to confirm the additional warmth was from a wound, and before he could even mention it jokingly under his breath, a medic was tending to the injury.

Grabbing the radio from the soldier next to him, Dalikharl shot Gunnsvyg a glance that said, Tell me after I do this.

Speaking at a pitch and volume to compromise with the volley of tank fire and the returned cacophony of small arms munitions' discharges, the Hammer levied the Peoples' Will, "Grom Oden, Grom Oden, this is Syuzeren, confirm fire!"

Two seconds parsed a silence over the channel before a clear vocalization came over from the other side, "Impact in three... two... one..."

Zero, aptly thought Dalikharl as the weapons-density rod-shell of tungsten practically annihilated the Dread last stand. Even if there were somehow any survivors of along the perimeter of their beyond-ruined fortress, the Battle of Igorsik as far as the Hammer was concerned. Standing up as the combative orchestra quieted, the Grand Emperor asked Sigrskvor bluntly, "What the hell is wrong? I told you to stay in the rear. You know I don't like you protecting my ass in these situations!"

The bodyguard's eyes were downcast before he could work up the nerve to break the news, "Your Majesty, Venkhzmr Jormshgalnsvarij is dead. Svetlana Trakovsky and her secretary, Gennady Zakharov are in critical condition. Drunk driver hit their vehicle as they were leaving Jarnbyrg the meeting with Strovarya Arms factory supervisors."

Grand Emperor Dalikharl II's wound from the Battle of Igorsik would be stitched and glued, but some scars never really heal. He was on his official diplomatic jet within the hour afterward to head to Citadel City while being briefed on all the recent events since he had departed Anhavirnjogr. With the most recent Myrizstrakha emergence thoroughly beaten into oblivion, it was time to return to grander schemes and bolder maneuvers.





Meanwhile, the last ships of the Grand Armada of Liberation, consisting of the entire Yugostrana Imperial Armada and both of the Sredigotov Imperial Expeditionary Fleets, were forming up with the Allied cordons around Shen Almaru. The Fourth Home Guard Fleet, specializing in anti-access and area denial, began immediately reinforcing the vast yet somewhat porous blockades; the four Expeditionary Fleets--IV, VI, VII, VIII--followed suit by preparing to support the operations of their allies in destroying every single Shun-loyal ship between allied forces and the islands of Shen Almaru. Unbeknownst to the world, the Blood House Aszcheyko had declared domvoina upon the House of Shun.
Last edited by Aldarminia on Fri Jul 27, 2018 5:35 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Ghant
Minister
 
Posts: 2443
Founded: Feb 11, 2013
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Ghant » Mon Jul 09, 2018 6:54 pm

"Odolzin"
The White Citadel
Citadel City, Havensky

(Co-written with Havensky)

During the break, the Skyans had removed the Ghantish throne from the round table and replaced it with a Gothic one. This particular throne was slightly larger than the rest of the thrones and made of Crimson King Maple. A tree motiff was inlaid in the back with Gothic Hydras moving from the base of the tree towards the arm rests. It probably wasn’t the world’s most comfortable chair, but it did have a rather dramatic effect to it.

On stage, a line of Gothic flags were arranged next to the chair with national flags intertwined between then with Ghant’s being most prominent. A small press area had been partitioned just to the left and right of the stage with a pool cameras set up in the center of the room. The podium was placed just off to the side with several microphones set up.

As the press was getting set in their position, Skyan Press Secretary SJ Craig assisted Emperor Ghant with his lapel mic and began to explain that the press would be broadcasting the swearing in as well as any speech he intended to make afterwards. The press wouldn’t be asking any questions here, but would be shepherded to the Citadel Press Room after the swearing in. Not every Gothic nation had a free press, but the Skyans did and they wanted witnesses for this event.

The Skyans had also opened up the chamber’s upper decks to prominent Ghantish that happened to be in Citadel City at the time as well as the entire local embassy staff.

The White Guard began to gently inform the Lords that the ceremony was about to begin. As they were seated, the Ghantish national anthem began to play and Emperor Nathan was directed to stand in front of the throne. The doors opened and the Ghantish Ambassador walked down the aisle.

Atticus stood at the podium and addressed the Lords.

“The Emperor of Ghant will now be sworn in as the Gothic Executor. Emperor Nathan IV has chosen to swear the oaths upon his own blood. The Odolzin ceremony will be administered by the Ghantish Ambassador to Havensky, Jenara Torrea.”

Atticus stepped down from the podium as Ambassador Torrea took his place. She was a tall brunette with wavy shoulder-length hair, smooth fair skin and hazel eyes, dressed in a silver evening dress. Once she had assumed her position at the podium, she began to recite the ritual in its traditional manner for all to see.

“Is there one among you, of Ghantish blood and ancient name, who can command the words of the people?” Jenara asked, generally.

“I, Lara of House Jarasa, of ancient name, shall command the words of the people.” The curvy blonde Ghantish noblelady with lilac eyes stood tall and proud as she spoke, and upon saying the words, came forward and joined Ambassador Torrea at the podium.

“And who among you calls themself a Knight? Who has sworn upon their life and honor to fear the Gods and to maintain their laws?” the Ambassador continued, her voice booming.

Ser Rolli, the so called Knight of Ducks, answered the call. “I am, by my honor I swear.” Having said that, the knight walked forward and joined Jenara and Lara upon the stage.

Finally, Jenara called forth for “By blood and honor, I call forth Nathan, the Fourth of His Name, Emperor of Ghant, High King of the Ghantar, King of Low Ghant, King of Gholghant, Lord of Zahaghant, Lord of Dienghant, Lord of Gholgoth, Lord of Ghish, Lord of Gaztelua and Protector of the Realm.”

The Emperor of Ghant made his way towards the three of them, their eyes cast upon him firmly. “What brings you before us, he who would presume to answer the call?”

Bowing his head deeply, Nathan got down on one knee, and then upon the other. Kneeling on both knees, he said, “Upon my blood, the blood of kings of old, I would swear Odolzin, upon the blade of my ancestors, in the sight of Gods and men.” Nathan drew forth his Arragaran steel sword, the one once bestowed upon King Robert I of Low Ghant, and with the blade exposed, dragged it across his right hand.

Still kneeling, Nathan showed his bleeding hand to Jenara, Lara and Rolli, and then to those present, Gothic Lords and members of the press alike. “Upon my own lifesblood I swear to be true as Executor of Gholgoth. To honor and obey the Gothic Alliance and its laws, to adhere to the Council and to respect my fellow lords.

“As you have sworn upon your life, before blood and honor, so shall your oath be kept. Rise now, as Executor of Gholgoth, in the sight of Gods and men.” Just as Jenara finished speaking, the Emperor sheathed his sword and stood. Then he approached the podium with a bloodied hand, and looked for the words that he wished to say to all those gathered to witness him speak.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, words cannot describe today the honor that I feel. Any prepared speech wouldn’t do it proper justice, so I decided to speak from the heart. To think that I, Emperor Nathan of Ghant, stand before you as Executor...it’s surreal. Yet I understand that winning an election isn’t the prize. No, something like Executor cannot be won. It must be earned...it must be achieved.

I’ve spoken many things about what I’d like to achieve. I cannot do it alone. Peace is a group effort, requiring unity of purpose. These are dark days filled with uncertainty that we find ourselves in, and in the darkness we must learn to live together, or die alone. The canyons that divide us are sometimes great, but so too are the bridges that connect us. We must never forget that we are men and women of Gholgoth, first and foremost.

Is it fear of what we’re capable that inspires awe and terror in the hearts of men? Aye, because we are capable of anything that we put our minds to. There’s nothing that we cannot achieve together, against any shared problem or common foe. It’s that resilience, that dogged spirit, that drive to endure against all hardship that inspires fear in the hearts of men. We can be invincible...we can be unstoppable.

Together, we shall have peace amongst us. The War with the TGT and the Triumvirate shall end. The dispute concerning Shen Almaru shall be resolved decisively. Gholgoth shall be more united and stronger than ever. I believe it’s possible, and so should you. Together we will leave it in a better condition than it was when we came upon it, and leave that for our children.

Yet, if any nation would wage war upon this Council, we shall let them know that the price is heavy. Let us not spill blood unnecessarily, but always be prepared to do so, if that is the cost of peace. So long as there is war, we shall win it. So long as there is peace, we shall enjoy it. Whatever this Council strives to accomplish, we shall achieve it, because we have the strength to achieve great things. Whatever it is that we dare, know that we shall succeed, and usher in a future brighter than anyone can imagine. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

The room began to cheer upon the conclusion of the new Emperor's speech, though the Emperor was anything but exuberant. He talked a big game and made great commitments...he could feel the weight of the responsibility. My blood is upon it now, he understood, dreading the thought of failure and what that would mean for not just himself, but for his family and his country. Much hanged in the balance, but for now, all he could really do was drink some water and smile for the press.
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Havensky
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Posts: 877
Founded: Jan 01, 2008
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Havensky » Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:45 pm

As Nathan finished speaking, the room was silent except for the clicking of cameras recording the moment for history. And then, applause.

There was applause in the room as Executor Nathan walked down from the stage, shook hands with everyone, and proceeded out of the room escorted by the Knight of Ducks and his own security forces. Skyan Legionnaires had taken positions at the edge of the walkway and saluted the Executor as he passed. They maintained their salute as each of the Lords rose from their seat and left the Council Chambers.

After all the other Lords had left, Atticus walked out of the Skyan Chamber escorted by the Head of the White Guard. After that, everyone else was invited to leave the room.

The hallway that the Lords walked down was reserved just for the Lords and their guests. It allowed the Lords that wanted to attend a press availability to do so by using the press room side door. If they didn’t feel like talking to the press they could just keep walking towards the feast.

The press room was set up very simply with podiums spaced out and each adorned with the Gothic Flag. Several dozen reporters had gathered in the press room all over the region and a handful of pool cameras and microphones were pointing at the stage.

At a minimum, they would hear from Atticus and any of the other Lords that choose to appear before the media. The Skyan media would play any Lord’s remarks in full across the globe.

The corridor began to descend downward and ended up at the VIP entrance to the Citadel’s Grand Ballroom where the feast had been set up. The flags from each nation had been hung from the stone ceiling interspersed with long ribbons in Gothic colors.

The feast was to be served tapas style with small plates of food from all over the region. From Skyan brisket tacos, Ghantish amaigaberregosia, Kylarnatian kabkabou and even Kraven nutritional grey paste. Or at least, the Skyan approximation of it. Skaro had been cagey about what the paste was made out of. So, the Skyans had simply used tofu and food coloring along with added nutrients.

The Skyan had arranged the seating. There wasn’t a head table, but rather the diplomatic staff had mixed everyone up as not to show favoritism to one nation or the other.

There were exceptions of course. The children of the Gothic Lords were seated at two tables. The high school age children on one table and everyone else - including Bebe - at the other table.

The candidates for Praetor and their guests were also seated at the same table. Their positions weren't yet official, but the diplomatic corp though it might be useful to have them all have some face time.

Executor Nathan was seated with Atticus, the Pudite Emperor and the slaver Emperor Fenric. This was done in order to allow the new executor a chance to work on a peace accord in a more casual environment.

Newly minted Ambassador to Dephire Lady Regina “Glitch” Raven had joined the feast alongside King Gavin Ironwing. They were seated at the table with Emperor Tristan.

Queen Jessica Heart, the true Gothic Lord of Havensky, sat at the same table as Emperor Fedor of The Golden Throne as well as the Aldarminian Grand Emperor Dalikharl. With the reforms passed and the Executor elected, Atticus’ job was nearly finished. Queen Heart, a former Secretary of State herself, would take on the next challenging task.

The Golden Throne was a powerful outsider who was currently at war with a fellow Gothic nation. The slaver empire had used Havensky’s alliance with The Golden Throne to foster suspicious and used it as an excuse to bomb Citadel City. Gholgoth was hostile to outsiders and this was a chance for Fedor to be getting acquainted with the Lords before his official speech to the Lords.

As for all the other tables, it was a mix of different people from different nations in what had to be one of the largest state dinners ever hosted in the region. The ballroom itself was immense in its size and could hold hundreds of people. Prominent foreign nationals who lived in Havensky would also have been invited.

There were also several tables for journalists from across the region although they were told not to pounce on people during dinner.

All across the room, servers would be walking to and fro with drinks of all kinds. Champagne, beers, wines, various juices and all manner of liquor. There would not be an empty glass in the entire room.

This would be quite the feast indeed.
Last edited by Havensky on Fri Aug 03, 2018 6:24 pm, edited 3 times in total.
The Skybound Republic of Havensky
(Pronounced Haven-Sky)

Territory held in
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The Scandinvans
Senator
 
Posts: 4898
Founded: Oct 09, 2004
Capitalizt

Postby The Scandinvans » Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:52 pm

Fenric abruptly stood up and proclaimed,""There is no real nation of Havensky. The people there lack any common roots. They have no unified sense of purpose, history, and self. Their society is nothing more than a hodgepodge menagerie of different peoples with no true attachment to each other. Fundamentally they are little better than a gaggle of unwashed vagabonds who have coalesced into some sort of semblance of economic cooperation.

The vanity of their delegation here is a mask for the inherent weakness manifest in their people. They demand reformation so that the greater and truer nations do not turn their eyes upon them. Yet, their depravity will in the end force them into dissolution. The light of civilization will begin to prevail once more in the near future. It shall eventually burn away their wickedness and expose the lies of the dres'nalar. For their lack of capacity to acquiesce to reason has rendered any conservation with them futile.

The faith that they bring is one of compromise and thus there is nothing truly in it. The morals they preach are ones designed to protect the offal. The rights they espouse defend the most depraved the most. The laws they create detract from the truth of humanity. The governments they elect are nothing more than wardens of disorder. Their entire system is thus nothing more than an insidious lie. Democracies are all vile enterprises which deserve to be pushed into the dustbin of history.

The belief that all humans are created equal, which is so dear to them, is a fallacy. There is no evidence for it anywhere in nature or in scripture to support that supposition. When people operate with this as an axiom it is, in effect, constructed as a apparent falsehood designed to mislead people and give them false hope that they can thrive. When in reality all your systems do is further the wealth of a parasitic elite who lacks the courage to openly proclaim their status.

These lies end up condemning the very nature of all their efforts. The semblance of order for these proceedings damns any efforts born here. They seek to oppose the rights of my people to defend ourselves, our traditions, and any prospect for our own sovereign future. We shall never yield to those who seek our destruction. We shall overcome any of the pitiable efforts arrayed against.

My warning to the Havenites present here, in the deepest of pits shall your leaders be thrown. In the vaults of the world's spine shall they be kept. Hidden away in the darkness shall their sin consume them. Madness shall shatter their pathetic minds. Their will shall be laid bare and they made to recant for their depravity. When only the word of the Almighty issues forth shall they be at last redeemed.

To the rest of those here, I hereby exercise my right to liberum veto. I am a sovereign lord of Gholgoth. None here can compel me to yield my ancestral prerogatives. My nation's rights shall be preserved. My people's future shall be secured by us alone if need be. Any of those who seek to hinder our efforts shall be considered to be oath breakers who violated the ancient pact which we forged with the fellow lords of Gholgoth. We shall continue to offer diplomatic options to those who wish them."

Reaching to his side an aide brought him a collar and taking it he placed it into onto the table," This is the fate of those who dare to invade our nation."
Last edited by The Scandinvans on Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:02 pm, edited 3 times in total.
We are the Glorious Empire of the Scandinvans. Surrender or be destroyed. Your civilization has ended, your time is over. Your people will be assimilated into our Empire. Your technological distinctiveness shall be added to our own. Your culture shall be supplanted by our own. And your lands will be made into our lands.

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Jagada
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 199
Founded: Feb 15, 2005
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Jagada » Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:47 pm

The White Citadel
Citadel-City,
The Skybound Republic


The affair had been well over her head and Empress Renuae knew it. Despite her reservations she kept glancing over at her father, Nalur al’Maw, who sat impassively watching the unfolding spectacle. Once during the voting there had been a clear pause in the procession where some eyes fell on her to cast her vote. She had tried to rise but a firm grip from Nalur stopped her and the look in his sideways glance told her to remain quiet. The moment passed and it was assumed she would abstain from the voting altogether. The election of Emperor Nathan IV of Ghant had been a surprise … or at least she thought it should be? There were no tales of gruesome deeds involving Ghant which made Nathan’s election awkward. Didn’t the Gothic Lords favor strength?

Once the election and the immediate speech following the coronation had been done she had left with quiet dignity, escorted by her ever-present father. They walked through the halls of the White Citadel and she could feel a certain charm for the Skyans populist approach to monarchy. The two of them found themselves a short time later in the feasting room. Finding it hadn’t been hard given the delicious smells that wafted through the air. She entered seeing the graceful, but chaotic, scene of state leaders being seated while servants scuttled about bringing in great trays of food from across the region. She began to worry as to where to sit; even Nalur looked about tepidly.

Thankfully a servant spotted them, and her badge of office as a Gothic Lord, and immediately made herself useful by bowing graciously and escorting them to a nearby table. Her name was on a small, gold-edged piece of vellum on the table, and an extra seat was brought for her father soon after. Pulling the seat out for her, Nalur made sure to follow all of the steps to show proper respect.

Once seated and refreshments delivered – a glass of water for her, and a whiskey for her father, he leaned in close to her while appearing to stare off into the distance.

‘Do you understand why we abstained,’ he said softly.

‘Something involving power politics no doubt.’

A slight clenching of his cheeks the only sign of annoyance at her, ‘That’s a lazy answer. This new position, the Executor, is untested and the first of its kind for the region. If it fails, our hands are clean. If it succeeds, then our abstaining vote will be forgotten and disregarded as neutrality.’

‘Is it well that Emperor Nathan won the vote,’ she asked trying her best to make the entire conversation appear bland and uninteresting so as to keep prying ears away.

‘Better him than Skaro,’ said Nalur before moving away from her abruptly ending the conversation.

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Havensky
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Posts: 877
Founded: Jan 01, 2008
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Havensky » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:50 pm

As soon as the slaver emperor started speaking, Squall felt that this was more than just a slight.

This should have been Emperor, no Executor Nathan’s moment. He had triumphed in a popular vote of amongst the leadership of Gholgoth. He was now endowed with the responsibility of stopping the conflict between the slaver empire and the Alliance. Making a big speech now seemed like a surefire way to steal Nathan’s thunder and insult the hosts all at the same time. The cameras in the room would naturally broadcast the entire speech to the world stealing the moment away.

Squall had seen both Atticus and Nathan had leave the room. So, the slaver was insulting the Skyan People from behind the back of their designated representative.

Coward.

As the slaver emperor went on, the temperature in the room seemed to drop ten degrees. Squall’s power armor crackled with electricity as it began to power up in response to his clenched fist. All around the room, a low rumble began to form as the Skyans in the room expressed their displeasure. The White Guard in the room began to key off Squall moving into positions around the room to keep the non-combatants behind them.

The tension might have been dissipated with time. There might have been a reality in which the Skyans ignored the taunt, ignored the insult, kept their mouths shut and their hands clean.

That reality became impossible the moment the slave collar hit the table.

Over the next second, there was silence at first followed by the sound of Squall’s armor following his hand as it reached for his blade. His fingers grasped the handle and the sword’s metal began to sing as it started to leave the sheath.

And then...a boom from above.

“Major Squall!”

Squall looked up lighting quick at the source of the voice.

“Escort this man out of the Citadel!”

Lamula Hagane, the Skyan World Assembly Ambassador, had been sitting in the chamber’s upper balcony watching the proceedings. The balcony only made her already six foot frame all the more commanding. Her dark wild curly hair contrasted starkly with her bright white dress. Her words boomed throughout the large hollow chamber and the rest of the room went quiet at her command.

“You, Emperor of the Slavers.

We invited you here to break bread with us, as our guests, to begin a new era of brotherhood. We did this despite your attack on our cities. We did this despite your continued insults on our values, our people, our way of life. We bore your insults because we felt that it was more important to try for a peaceful resolution.

We have been patient.

We may not be originally from here, but we have paid our oath to this Alliance with blood. Time...and time… again. Despite your attack THIS VERY CITY we welcomed you our into our homes to share with us and foster a new era….and is this how you treat us? In our own home? As our guests? You dare throw a slave’s collar at us? In a city built by in part those who escaped such bondage? In a city, that offers asylum and sanctuary to those who yearn to be free? Slaver...your disrespect for our generosity knows no bounds but our patience does! You will leave this chamber! You will leave this Citadel! You will leave this city and never darken our doors again! I will not abide your hatred any further. OUT!”

Squall let his sword go back in it’s sheath and walked towards the Emperor and his guards. Behind him, a dozen members of the White Guard snapped in formation alongside him bringing their rifles out to the ready position. Above in the balcony, dozens more members of the White Guard took their positions.

Squall voice cut through the room like a knife.

“Emperor, you will come with me and we will escort you to your aircraft.”
Last edited by Havensky on Sat Nov 10, 2018 8:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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(Pronounced Haven-Sky)

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Kylarnatia
N&I RP Mentor
 
Posts: 8445
Founded: Jul 07, 2008
Left-Leaning College State

The Fury of the Night

Postby Kylarnatia » Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:46 pm

Lord Hyperion had listened to the newly elected Executor's speech from behind the Caesar's throne at the table. He never saw it as his place to comment on the affairs of politics or diplomacy, thus he didn't think too much about the whole ordeal. If it was up to him, things would be settled in combat, but even he acknowledged the need to avoid that if it could be helped. He just knew he wasn't very good at it, so he made sure to keep quiet unless asked to voice his opinion, or when he really couldn't ignore what was being said. While the eyes and ears of the world were on the Ghantish Emperor, Hyperion's mind wandered to what the Caesar had told him, of the deal between the Skyans and the Kravenites.

His attention was brought back when Nathan's speech concluded and the room erupted into applause. The Executor was then quickly escorted out along with Atticus, and the Caesar made sure to follow close behind. As they all passed the Dux Imperator bowed his head, before turning his attention to a presence he had felt in the room: a tall female figure standing at the back of the media pool. He made his way to go and speak to her, on his way noticing the presence of the Kylarnatian Imperial News reporter Josephina 'Josie' Whitehall - a veteran of the industry who was known to everyone in the Imperial Government as both an asset and a potential threat depending on how she framed her story - who was still busily working on live-reporting the events as they happened. The two shared a brief glance before the Lord got one step closer to his intended target.

Then the commotion started.

The giant slowly turned his frame to witness the events as they unfolded. The Scandinvan Emperor rambled like a madman as he denounced the Skyans in a fashion that Hyperion found more laughable if anything. Oratory was a skill, he would admit, but it was a skill few had. Maybe these sorts of theatrics played well in the Scandin homeland, but here they just seemed a bit too much like one of the caricatures than somebody from the massive press pool witnessing the spectacle would go on to create. The mood all seemed to change quite quickly however when the slave collar was produced, creating a buzz of excitement amongst the press as they scurried to get pictures to share on their media feeds. Within Hyperion however, there wasn't so much a buzz, but a spark.

Squall and the White Guard were quick to respond to the insult as one would expect, the situation quickly escalating as they demanded the mad Emperor's departure from the proceedings. That was certainly the most important thing going on in that moment, but the Dux Imperator's mind remained on the collar. The symbolism, the gesture, the intended message. The spark inside became multiple, and then those turned into flames. His eyes became more alight as - almost completely ignoring the rest of the commotion going on around him - Hyperion stepped up and came between the Skyans and the Scandinvans, his large titan-like figure towering over them all as he picked the collar up in his one free hand, keeping a now increasingly tight grip on Nightbane in the other. He studied it for a while, the clatter of its chains ringing out despite all the commotion.

This time, the Lord would speak.

"Never, in all my many years of witnessing the affairs of this region, have I witnessed anything such as this." He began, his words silencing everyone in the room as they listened. "Never have I witnessed a head of state try to exercise a right which does not exist, nor insult their hosts in such a grievous fashion while trying to then say that they're open to diplomatic discussion. You speak of the oath which your people took, as did the rest of ours, long ago which gave birth to our Alliance. You call us oath-breakers, yet it is you who have broken the oath this day."

Hyperion's grip tightened on the slave collar, as he then looked directly into the mad Emperor's eyes, caring little for all the other eyes that looked upon him. "None here can compel you to yield and yet you threaten to place the Skyans - a people who have, with their own blood, taken the exact same oath - in bondage, from which they have already escaped once before. You act as if your word is law, which it may be in your lands and you can therefore say you will uphold them, but know today that they have no power here. You say that the belief that all people are equal is a fallacy, yet it is this belief that forged this very Alliance, has brought us here to make the steps we have. The truth is, that terrifies you. You do not like that you are being called to answer for your crimes, slaver, and instead of accepting the equal place at the table you've been offered - despite all the ills you've already committed - you lash out in anger."

The titan edged a little closer to the Scandinvan Emperor. "My father was once a slave-owner, like yourself. He owned my mother and her people - my people - and treated them like chattel. When he wanted more from my mother and she refused to give him what he wished, he lashed out in anger, just as you do now. Eventually he became a victim of his own cruelty and hubris and we turned on him for his crimes. Do you know what I did to him? I placed him in his own chains, and cast him into the darkness for him to go mad." The Lord presented the chains back to the Emperor, his grip still tight on them. "He underestimated my mother and my people and he paid the price. If you underestimate the Skyans - a people who've suffered in ways equal to mine, and for that I respect them greatly - you will pay an even greater one."

"As you are a Lord of Gholgoth, I will give you this one courtesy, but only once: this whole summit is a diplomatic offering to you. It has all been a chance for you to present your case and come to a non-violent solution, as the Executor has promised for you and I alike. That is your right, to expect a delivery on that promise. But if you walk away from this table, there will be no suspension of the proceedings. The only veto will be of your right to the promise that has been given to you. You can puff up your chest and throw around all the bondage you wish, but should you close the door we've opened for you..."

The Dux Imperator then tightened his grip so much on the collar, that the metal started to buckle and twist. Once he released it, it was not so much a collar but a deformed mess. "This will be your fate."

As a deadly silence hung over the room, Hyperion's mind thought to all the scolding he'd likely receive from the Caesar, but he did not care. It was not for him to be a diplomat or statesmen. It just had to be said.
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